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^Jll that I know is, that the facts I state 
Are true, as Truth has ever been of late.'''' 

— Byron 




Copyright 1916 
By Charles H. Babbitt 


INTRODUCTION : Wherefore and How 5—6 

Latitude ; First Occupancy ; Origin of Name ; Hart 's 
Cut-Off; Hart's Bluff; Bloomer and Gue Histories; 
De Smet's Letter to Jones; Hart's Trapping Station; 
Who was Hart ? Pottawattamie Indians Arrive ; Old 
Blockhouse ; Billy Caldwell's Village ; Jesuit Mission ; 
Fort Croghan; Camp Kearney; Mormons; Miller's 
Hollow ; Kanesville ; Colonel Kane ; Mormon Church 
Reorganization; President Chosen; General G. M. 
Dodge; United States Land Office; First "Gentile" 
Church Edifice; Named Council Bluffs; City Incor- 
poration ; Townsite Entry ; Survey of Townsite ; News- 
papers ; First Dram.atic Performance 9 — 24 

Land in Iowa and Missouri ; Indian Cessions in Illinois 
and Indiana; Removal of Pottawattamies ; Errone- 
ously Located; Platte Purchase; Arrival in Iowa; 
Number Removed; Blockhouse Erected; Dr. Edwin 
James ; Iowa Lands Described ; Father De Smet ; His 
Mission; Early Writers Err; Old Indian (Wicks) 
Mill; Historical Works; Colonel Kearney; Sub- 
Agency Locations; Camp Fenwick; Fort Croghan; 
Pottawattamies Relinquish Iowa Lands; Indian and 
Mormon Co-Occupancy; Departure of Pottawat- 
tamies 25 — 40 

THE OLD BLOCKHOUSE: Subject of Surmise; Writer's 
Memory Concerning ; Bloomer 's Description ; Gue 's 
History; Field and Reed History; H. H. Field's Per- 
sonal Recollection ; Spencer Smith 's Memory ; Ephraim 
Huntington's Remembrance; Henry De Long's De- 
scription ; Appearance in 1846 ; Fort Croghan 's Rela- 
tion; De Smet's Barometric Reading; Nicollett and 
Fremont's Visit; Camp Kearney; War Department 
Memorandum; Official Records; When Erected; 
Jesuit Mission Establislied ; Mission Abandoned ; Com- 
ment on Memory 41 — 60 


FORT CROGHAN: When Established; By Whom Estab- 
lished ; Camp Fenwiek ; Name Changed ; Log Canton- 
ment; Flooded by Missouri; Removal to Highlands; 
Scope of Name; Original Site; Where Removed; 
Bloomer's Statements; Hardin's Testimony; Section 
10; Casady's Farm; Council Point; Casady's Town 
House; Duck Hollow; De Smet's Reply to Inquiry; 
Log of Steamer ' ' Omega" ; Audubon 's Visit ; Audubon 
Returns ; Abandonment of Fort ; Writer's Deductions ; 
General Comment 61 — 76 

THE MORMONS : Arrive at Missouri River ; Civil Govern- 
ment ; Whither Were They Going ? Camps of Israel ; 
The Stakes of Zion; Enlistment of Battalion; Its 
Rendezvous; Farewell Ball; Change of Emigration 
Plans ; Semi-Permanent Encampment ; Winter Quar- 
ters; Municipal Government Established; Miller's 
Hollow; Kanesville; President of the Church Ap- 
pointed; Abandonment of Winter Quarters; Post- 
offices Established; Frontier Guardian; Peter A. 
Sarpy; Dagger's Mill; The Bugle; Orson Hyde and 
His People Depart 77—89 

POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY: Temporary Organization 
Authorized; Organization Effected; Boundaries 
Changed and Area Reduced; Seat of Justice to be 
Selected; Election for Seat of Justice and Officials; 
Date and Result of Election 91—96 


MAP of VICINITY of Council Bluffs 7 

SKETCH MAP of the Pottawattamie Country (1837) 23 

OLD BLOCKHOUSE ; Simons Picture ; Bloomer and Gue ; 45 

OLD BLOCKHOUSE; Suppasititious Picture; Original Ap- 
pearance! 59 

STREET SCENE in Council Bluffs (About 1861) 90 


For about forty years the author or compiler of this little book 
has been a more or less regular contributor to the columns of the 
Daily Nonpareil, at Council Bluffs, Iowa. During that period, — 
especially the latter part, — his writings have been chiefly reminis- 
cences of early clays at and near that city, where he resided in his 
boyhood and early manhood for twenty-one years — 1853 to 1874. 

In September, 1915, he attended and read a reminiscent paper 
before a gathering of "pioneers" and "early settlers" of South- 
western Iowa. The conversations that ensued indicated the existence 
of much discrepancy in memory among those in attendance and sug- 
gested the preparation of this work. 

Entering upon the necessary research the writer soon discovered 
that not only was his memory defective, but that, in some instances, 
it presented things that never existed, — mere figments of imagination. 
He found, also, that others were afflicted in the same manner; that 
some who had essayed the task of "history writers" had become, so 
to speak, "makers of history" by introducing into their works as 
real some of those imaginary things, and by setting down as facts 
mere inferences, deductions and assumptions. 

Thereupon he resolved that nothing should be stated as a fact in 
this work that might not be authenticated b}^ either conclusive or 
very convincing evidence, and in the preparation of this booklet he 
has been controlled and guided by that resolution. 

While it has not been possible to secure absolutely conclusive testi- 
mony in support of each and every incident herein recorded, and 
some inferences, deductions and assumptions have been unavoidable, 
he has endeavored to present only such of these as may be corroborated 
or sustained by reasonably strong circumstantial evidence, and where 
introduced they are distinctly set down for what they are. Where 
matters are stated as facts, they are facts. 

Instead of simply stating the facts in his own language and re- 
ferring in footnotes to the authorities from whence they have been 
gleaned, as per the custom of professional historians, the writer has 
incorporated and quoted the original sources; in other words, he has 
allowed the authorities to tell their own stories, and has merely 


pointed out to those who may wish to pursue the matter what the 
authorities are and where they may be found. It is his belief that 
this course will prove more satisfactory to the general reader, to whom 
the source of many quotations and citations made are absolutely un- 
attainable. Some of the matters quoted have never before been pub- 
lished in any form, and the records containing them are not con- 
veniently accessible to the general publi,. 

It is not the purpose of this work to present a commercial and 
personal history of early days at Council Bluffs, its scope being re- 
stricted to substantially the period between the coming of the Potta- 
wattamie Indians to Southwestern Iowa and the general exodus of the 
Latter Day Saints from the locality — that is between 1835 and 1853, 
though for the completion of some subjects events as late as 1857 are 
necessarily incorporated. 

For assistance rendered and information furnished the writer 
acknowledges obligation to Rev. Henry De Long, Hon. H. H. Field, 
Hon. Spencer Smith, Ephraim Huntington, City Engineer, E. E. 
Spetman, William H. Campbell, Theodore Guittar, James N. Casady, 
and W. S. Cooper, of Council Bluffs; Hon. Frank Shinn, of Carson; 
General Hiram Martin Chittenden, of Seattle, Washington; Rev. 
G. J. Garraghan, of the University of St. Louis; Anthon H. Lund, 
Latter Day Saints Historian, A. Wm. Lund and Andrew Jensen, 
Assistant Historians, and Edgar S. Hills, of Salt Lake City; Ben- 
jamin F. Shambaugh, Superintendent, and Jacob Van der Zee, State 
Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City; Edgar R. Harlan, Curator, 
Historical Department of Iowa, Des Moines; Albert Watkins, His- 
torian, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln ; Rev. Michael Shine, 
Plattsmouth, Nebraska; officials of the War Department, Post Office 
Department, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. 

If the work shall serve in any degree to preserve the truth of 
history, that shall be the compiler's reward; for such errors, defects 
or imperfections as may appear, the responsibility in his. 

Charles H. Babbitt. 

Washington, D. C, October 21, 1916. 


Scale 2 Inch = I Mile 
i_ ! __? |L 




This map, or diagram, has been prepared from the plats of surveys 
made in 1851-1852 by the United States Government, and from other 
sources of information deemed reliable. It shows the west two-thirds 
of each of the townships 74 and 75, range 43, and all of each of 
the fractional townships 74 and 75, range 44, 

All points laid down thereon, except Camp of Mormon Battalion, 
Hart's Trapping Station. Caldwell's Village, and Omega Landing — 
1843, are fixed in accordance with the records of the General Land 
Office. The locations of the Old Blockhouse and Caldwell's Village 
have been indicated from records found in the Indian Bureau and 
War Department, and various concurrent sources of information. The 
locations of the Omega Landing and Hart's Trapping Station are 
shown as supposed to be from historical writings found to have bearing 
in relation thereto. The Camp of the Mormon Battalion is shown to 
be located as indicated upon information by Rev. Henry De Long, 
and by writings of Colonel Thomas L. Kane and others made at the 
time. The authorities are more fully described in the text of the 


About the beginning of the nineteenth century the site of the 
present city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, — (longitude 18° 48' west from 
Washington, 95° 50' west from Greenwich, and 41° 15' north lati- 
tude) — was occupied by the village of a tribe or band of aborigines 
known as the "Ayauway (Iowa) Indians" which is mentioned in the 
"History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark, 1804-5-6; 
reprinted from the edition of 1814; with Introduction by J. K. 
Hosmer. Chicago. A. C. MeClurg & Co. 1902", and indicated on 
a map accompanying that work. It appears from the journal of the 
expedition kept at the time that Captains Lewis and Clark camped 
July 27, 1804, on the west (right) bank of the Missouri river, slightly 
to the north and west from the point at which the original town was 
located some forty-two years later. 

The name is derived from "Council Bluff", a hill near the present 
village of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, at the foot of which was held a 
council with some Indians by Lewis and Clark. Their journal says : — 

"The incidents just related induced us to give this place 
the name of the Council Bluff." 

Subsequently "the Council Bluff" was used by early traders, 
trappers and navigators of the Missouri river, and by government 
officials, to indicate the site of that council, and later the final word 
became pluralized and the term "the Council Bluffs" was applied 
to the entire region of country between the (Jouncil Bluff and the 
mouth of the Platte river, the designation appearing upon all, or 
nearly all, early maps in connection with the range of hills on the 
west (right) bank of the Missouri river between the points mentioned. 
The early history of the region contains very little regarding the 
territory on the east (left) bank of the river, because that history re- 
lates, primarily, to the affairs of the several fur companies doing 
business along the stream, and, with the solitary exception of the 
trading establishment of Robidoux, Papin, Chouteau & Berthold, at 
the mouth of the Nishnabotna, none of the trading houses were on 
that side. 

When an Indian agency for the Otoes, Pawnees and Omahas was 


established at Bellevue, where previously a sub-agency under the 
Agent at Fort Leavenworth had existed, it became known as "the 
agency of the Council Bluff ' ', and subsequently as the Council Bluffs 
agency. By treaty of September 26 and 27, 1833, the Pottawattamie 
Indians of Illinois and Indiana, together with the Chippewas and 
Ottawas, with whom they were affiliated, ceded their possessions in 
those States and were assigned territory for a new home in south- 
western Iowa, but through errors of the emigrating agents those who 
removed in 1835, 1836 and early 1837 were carried into territory 
now in the northwestern part of the State of Missouri, opposite and 
near to Fort Leavenworth. They were removed to their own lands, 
in Iowa, in 1837, and the Council Bluffs Sub-agency was established 
at a point about one mile above the mouth of the Platte river, on 
the east (left) bank of the Missouri, which was under the juris- 
diction of the agency at Bellevue. Later (about 1843) the sub-agency 
offices were moved up the river to Point aux Poules (Point of the 
Pulls), opposite Bellevue, afterward known as Trader's Point, and 
there are indications that, before those Indians removed from the 
region, the sub-agency offices were removed to or near what was after- 
ward known as Council Point. A trading post was established at 
Trader's Point about the time that the Pottawattamies came to the 
country which was known as Hamilton's, and Peter A. Sarpy, agent 
for the American Fur Company at Bellevue, soon afterward opened 
a branch of his concern at the same place. 

There is tradition, supported by much circumstantial evidence of 
convincing character, to the effect that one Hart or Heart had a 
trading or trapping station at an early day (some say as early as 
1824, and the writer here believes it was established before that), 
at or very near the site of the present city of Council Bluffs, and that 
the adjacent hills, as well as those in and among which the original 
town was built were, for that reason, known to the early traders, 
trappers and navigators of the Missouri river as "Hart's Bluffs" 
(Cotes a Hart). 

No record has been found to indicate in any manner that this 
Mr. Hart was in any way connected with the American Fur Company 
or any of its predecessors, subsidiaries or successors; nor does liis 
name appear in any of the published official lists of independent 
traders licensed or granted permits by the United States government. 
If he were a white man trading on his own account with the Indians 


in the vicinity without a license, he would have been reported to the 
Indian Department by the other traders upon whose privileges he 
would have been intruding, such as Roye, on the site of the original 
city of Omaha; Pratt, on the site of Florence; Cabanne, a few miles 
above, and Manuel Lisa, near the old Council Bluff. But there is 
no record of such proceeding. 

It seems to be a fact, nevertheless, that someone named Hart or 
Heart did conduct a trading house or trapper's station at the indi- 
cated point prior to 1832. As late as 1843 notes in the American 
Pur Company's steamboat logs bore mention of "Hart's Cut Off" 
and "Hart's Bluffs". 

The precise spot on which Hart's establishment stood is not posi- 
tively known, and may not at this late day be located with absolute 
certainty. In Annals of Iowa (Volume 9, page 526, 1870-1871) D. C. 
Bloomer said that a trading point — 

"was situated as early as 1824 at what was in those days known 
as 'Hart's Bluffs', from a Frenchman who located there, and 
which is found upon inquiry to have been a place in the city 
of Council Bluffs known as Mynster Spring. ' ' 

Hon. B. F. Gue, in his "History of Iowa", writing of Pottawattamie 
Comity, said: 

"The first town laid out was called Hart's Bluff and stood 
on the present site of Council Bluffs." 

Unfortunately neither of these historians gave any tangible authority 
or source of information upon which his statement was based, and 
those of the latter were probably simply appropriated from the works 
of earlier writers. Surely there is no evidence now extant to confirm 
the fact that a "town was laid out" at the point and time referred 
to by Gue. He probably misread the writing of some earlier historian 
to whom he failed to give credit. 

Mr. Bloomer's statement is founded, manifestly, upon tradition 
and hearsay. He says, "which is now found upon inquiry", but 
does not say of whom inquiry was made. It might be inferred from 
other matter in the article quoted that he derived his information from 
Mr. Francois Guittar, who had long been familiar with the locality. 
Even if this inference be correct, the facts are not conclusively estab- 
lished. Although Mr. Guittar may have mentioned Mynster Spring 
as the site of Hart's establishment, he used that object as the place 


most prominent in the vicinity of Hart's plant, without meaning that 
it was the precise spot. There was then no suitable site immediately 
at the spring for a trading house. 

The best evidence found by the writer tending to convincingly prove 
that Hart's trading house was near the site of the present city of 
Council Bluffs, is contained in a letter addressed to A. D. Jones, of 
Omaha, by Father De Smet, December 28, 1867. Mr. Jones submitted 
to the celebrated Missionary several inquiries, of which one, with the 
answer, was as follows: — 

"(Question) There is an earthen remain of fortifications 
on the east bank of Omaha ; do you know who built it ? 

" (Answer) The remains alluded to must be the site of the 
old trading post of Mr. Heart. When it was in existence the 
Missouri river ran up to the trading post. In 1832 the river 
left it, and since that time it goes by the name of 'Heart's 
Cut-Off', leaving a large lake above Council Bluffs City." 

(See Chittenden and Richardson's De Smet, Volume 4, Page 
1353; also Volume I, Nebraska Historical Society's report.) 

The writer of this work resided at Council Bluffs from June 4, 1853 
to June 4, 1874, continuously, and from about 1855 or 1856 to the 
date last-before mentioned was very familiar with the lake referred 
to — called Big Lake — now Iowa Lake — and with its surroundings, 
having hunted game all around its shores and over the adjacent hills. 

Mynster Spring, lies back in the hills a short distance from the 
eastern shore of the old river bed — the original lake bed — and less 
than one-half mile to the north and east, over a high and sharp ridge 
— "hog back" — there was a confluence of two other live springs of 
lesser importance and smaller water flow, situated in a broad valley 
among the bluffs, from which flowed a brooklet of fair proportions 
that entered the original lake bed, from which the water had partly 
receded, probably one hundred yards north from where the Mynster 
Spring came out of its little gorge, and followed along the foot of the 
bluff for a considerable distance northwesterly entering the shrunken 
lake an eighth of a mile or more above the mouth of the Mynster 
Spring branch, th(! trend of the latter being southwesterly from the 
foot of the blufT wlicre it emerged. 

At the confluence of springs just mentioned — less than a half mile 
from the lake shore as it was in 1855, and much nearer the original 
bank — were the remains of buildings of considerable size, surrounded, 
or partly so then, by what appeared to have been a sod fence within 


the enclosure of which had been included the meeting of the springs. 
The area of land embraced in the original enclosure had been two or 
more acres, and there were indications that at a period long before 
the enclosed land, together with quite a quantity outside of the en- 
closure, had been cultivated. When passing through this place for 
the first time, accompanied by his father, on a duck-hunting trip to 
the lake, the writer was informed that the remains mentioned marked 
the site of an old Indian trading post. 

This site corresponds very closely with Father De Smet's all too 
brief reference to "Heart's trading post", and does not seriously 
conflict with the location described by Mr. Bloomer. At the time to 
which reference is here had nearly twenty-five years had elapsed sub- 
sequent to the change of river channel by which were formed the lake 
and cut-off mentioned by Father De Smet in his letter to Mr. Jones. 
During that period the waters of the lake had been receding and the 
springs had been busy carrying down from the hills and depositing 
large quantities of silt upon the delta — part of the old river-bed lake — 
so that considerable land had been formed between the bluff and the 
then existing lake shore. 

If, as the writer verily believes. Hart's establishment was located 
at the confluence of springs above mentioned, the line of the bluffs 
being the shore of the river at the time the post was erected — perhaps 
thirty years or more before the writer saw the place — the trapping 
station was only a short distance from the river bank. The "remains" 
referred to by Father De Smet are believed to be the same as men- 
tioned herein as a "sod fence"; and that the place was "the site of 
the old trading post of Mr. Heart", is not improbable. 

It must not be assumed that the term "Hart's Bluffs" of the early 
traders and voyageurs was applied to any one bluff or hill in par- 
ticular, but rather to the entire range of bluffs extending from the 
Indian creek delta, wherein the original town of Council Bluffs was 
built, to the delta above, through which Pigeon and Honey creeks 
and the Boyer river pass out from the hills and into the Missouri. 
The same mentioned by Lewis and Clark as "the first highlands that 
approach the river on that side since we left the Nodaway". 

So, while it is not conclusively established, there is at least very 
convincing evidence to indicate, that the first distinctive name given 
to the site of the present city of Council Bluffs ; that by which it was 
designated and differentiated by the traders, trappers and steamboat 


men from other similar situations along the Missouri river, was 
"Hart's Bluffs". 

Who was this "Hart" or "Heart" whose name became attached 
to the locality in question ? 

Messrs. Bloomer, Gue, and others whose works relating to the place 
have come under the inspection of the writer, all say that he was a 
"Frenchman". However, none of them give any authority for the 
assertion, nor does any of them appear to have definite knowledge 
respecting him. Their information about him is vague, to say the 
least, and apparently based entirely upon hearsay, legend and tra- 

A most diligent and careful search of the governmental and other 
records pertaining to the early traders and trappers operating in 
this region, as far back as 1810, fails to disclose anything by which 
the identity of "Hart" or "Heart" may be indubitably established. 

Incorporated in "Thwaite's Early Western Travels" is the report 
of Long's Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, by Dr. Edwin James, 
secretary. In that portion of the paper relating to the "Winter 
Cantonment", near "Camp Missouri" — (otherwise known as Fort 
Atkinson and Fort Calhoun) — has been found (Vol. 14, Chap. 9, 
page 250) a possible identification of the mysterious person from 
whom the names of "Hart's Bluff" and "Hart's Cut Off" may have 
been derived. It is the following : — 

"The principal Iowa chief was once at our camp; he is a 
very intelligent Indian, with solemn dignity of deportment, 
and would not deign to enter our houses or even to approach 
them until invited. He is said to have more intimate knowledge 
of the manners of the whites than any other Indian of the 
Missouri and to be acquainted with many of the words of our 
language, but will not willingly make use of them fearing to 
express himself improperly, or not trusting his pronunciation. 
He remained near Council Bluffs in the autumn, in order to be 
present at the councils with the different nations, and to observe 
the conduct of the whites toward them respectively, a consider- 
able time after his nation had departed down the river to their 
beaver trapping. After this he went with his family to the 
headwaters of the Boyer, and during their stay there trapped 
163 beaver; when with us he was about to go in search of his 
people. . . . 

"This Indian is known by several names, as Grand Batture, 
Hard Heart, Sandbar, and, in his own language, as Wang-e- 
waha. During our late contest with Great Britain he turned 


his back upon his nation in consequence of their raising the 
tomahawk upon our citizens, and, crossing the Missouri, united 
his destiny with the Otoes. Last autumn his nation joined him 
and submitted to his guidance; so that the Otoes, Missouries, 
and lowas were then united." 

One of the parties who signed the treaty of October 15, 1836, at 
Bellevue, by which the lowas, Otoes and Missourias completed the 
cession of the triangle of land in northwestern Missouri known as 
the ' ' Platte Purchase ' ', was ' ' No Heart ' ', whose aboriginal name does 
not appear; and he signed as an Iowa Chief. 

From ''Hard Heart" to "No Heart" is not a far change, nor 
would it be a surprising one. The terms have practically the same 
significance and were readily interchangeable under the circumstances 
of the lives of those people. 

It was of the winter of 1819-1820 that Dr. James wrote, after or 
during which, the Indian mentioned "went with his family to the 
headwaters of the Boyer" and engaged in trapping. In the legends 
and traditions relating to "Hart's trading house at the site of Council 
Bluffs" the date of its founding is said to have been "as early as 
1824". Now, a study of the topography of the country adjoining the 
Boyer river valley should make it clear that, at no point other than 
that herein set out as the probable site of ' ' Hart 's trading or trapping 
station" would there then have been found as good accommodations for 
such an establishment. There is no other place on the east (left) side 
of the Missouri river within one hundred miles of the mouth of the 
Boyer, where at that time existed so fine a situation for the trading 
or trapping station of one operating in that region ; well protected as 
it was from weather, as well as against the encroachment of enemies 
or competing operators, immediately on the bank of the Missouri 
and only a few miles below the mouth of the Boyer. 

No stretch of imagination is required, nor is it a violent presumption, 
to assume that this "intelligent Indian chief" who expatriated himself 
and became affiliated with the Otoes, in whose country the site men- 
tioned then was, actually established his headquarters at that point; 
and the fact that he was known to be in occupancy thereof and 
operating a trading or trapping station there, would have furnished 
good reason for the application of the names "Hart's Bluffs" to the 
adjacent hills and of "Hart's Cut-Off" to the new channel formed by 
the Missouri river when it receded to the westward. There appears 


to the writer good presumptive evidence to support the belief that 
this Indian gave the locality its name. 

In 1837 the Pottawattamie, Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, removed 
from Illinois and Indiana, who had been residing upon what was 
known as the "Platte Purchase", in Missouri, were brought to their 
new homes in Iowa, and the Village of one of their principal chiefs, 
Billy Caldwell, became located and a blockhouse was undoubtedly 
erected on the very site of the present city of Council Bluffs. Billy 
Caldwell died there September 27, 1841. (See Pottawattamie 

May 31, 1838, a Jesuit Mission was established at the place by the 
renowned Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, in connection with which 
the blockhouse was used. Father De Smet was transferred elsewhere 
in 1839 and in July or August, 1841 the mission was abandoned. (See 
Old Blockhouse.) 

Mr. J. N. Nicollet, accompanied by Lieutenant John C. Fremont, 
of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, made explorations in the 
Missouri river valley in 1838 and 1839, and the place now occupied 
by the city of Council Bluffs was referred to in the report of the ex- 
pedition published by the War Department in 1843, as "Camp 
Kearney", which, it is believed by the writer, was the name given by 
the explorers to their engineer encampment in that vicinity, although 
no specific mention of such encampment has been found. 

In 1842 a company of dragoons, under the command of Captain 
John H. K. Burgwin, was sent from Fort Leavenworth to protect the 
Pottawattamie Indians against threatened attack by the Sioux. Its 
encampment, named ' ' Camp Fenwick ' ' which was afterward changed 
to "Fort Croghan", was located somewhere in the vicinity of the old 
steamboat landing, about five miles south of the site of the old block- 
house; but, on account of high water, was removed in the spring of 
1843 to the highlands, and was abandoned October 6, 1843. (See 
Fort Croghan.) 

Upon the arrival of the Mormons, June 14, 1846, on their way 
to the "New Zion", a battalion of troops was recruited from their 
number at the site of the present city of Council Bluffs and sent to 
the Mexican war, and a semi-permanent camp was established at the 
place by the emigrating Latter Day Saints. One of their number, 
Henry W. Miller, settled a short distance west from the old block- 
house, where a village soon took form and was given the name 
"Miller's Hollow". 


Upon petition presented by Brigham Young a postoffiee named 
"Kane" was established at Miller's Hollow January 17, 1848, and at 
a conference meeting of the Saints held April 8, 1848, in the "Log 
Tabernacle" at Miller's Hollow, a resolution was adopted changing 
the name of the village to "Kanesville". This action was taken in 
honor of Colonel Thomas Leiper Kane, who had befriended the 
Mormons in many ways. Col. Kane was born at Philadelphia, Jan- 
uary 27, 1822; was son of John Kintzing and Jane Duval (Leiper) 
Kane. His father was a prominent lawyer of Philadelphia and Wash- 
ington and an adviser of several Presidents of the United States, in- 
cluding Andrew Jackson. Another son, Elisha Kent Kane, became 
quite well known on account of his explorations in the Arctic. Colonel 
Kane visited the Mormon settlement at Commerce (Nauvoo), Illinois, 
in 1847, and was with the Saints at Council Bluffs in 1846 when the 
brigade was recruited for the Mexican war. He went to Salt Lake in 
1858, with letters from President Buchanan, and assisted in settling 
the "Mormon War". In April, 1861, he raised a regiment of hunters 
and lumbermen which became known as the ' ' Bucktails ' ' ; was several 
times wounded during the war of the rebellion, on account of which 
he resigned in 1863. He founded the town of Kane, in northwestern 
Pennsylvania; was author of "The Mormons" (1850); "Alaska" 
(1868); Coahuila (1877). He died at Philadelphia December 26, 
1883. (See The Mormons.) 

The population of Kanesville was increased by more than one hun- 
dred per cent, by the influx of Saints from Winter Quarters, aban- 
doned in the spring of 1848, and the place gained a number of business 
houses, some of which became quite prominent in after years. The 
population is said to have approximated seven thousand in 1849. In 
1852 Apostle Orson Hyde, who had been in charge of Latter Day Saint 
affairs since the abandonment of Winter Quarters, departed from 
Kanesville, and with him went every Mormon whom he could induce 
to follow, and the population became greatly decreased. It was 
probably not in excess of two thousand or twenty-five hundred in the 
spring of 1853. 

On page 8 of Field and Reed's "History of Pottawattamie County," 
referring to the Mormon occupancy of the place, it is said : — 

"At this time everything was controlled by the church. Idle- 
ness and dissipation were not tolerated. There was no jail nor 
need for one." 


This accords with information given the writer by persons who were 
there at the time ; but, when he went there, in 1853, a marked change 
had occurred. There were numerous drinking and gambling places, 
running "wide open", the most pretentious of which was called the 
' ' Ocean "Wave ' ' on the site now occupied by the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, at the junction of Broadway and First street. Nor was 
gambling confined to the houses devoted to the purpose, all of which 
were named, "Humboldt", "Bloomer", &c. ; but, during emigration 
days, when passing "pilgrims" were numerous, the professionals oc- 
cupied the sidewalks where they dealt many kinds of "sure-thing" 
games— "thimble rigging", "chuck-a-luck", "monte", etc., using 
empty packing boxes upturned for tables, stacked upon which might 
frequently be seen hundreds of dollars in gold coin to catch the eye of 
passers by. 

There was little manufacturing in the very early days ; commercially 
none. Of course there were artisans of various kinds: shoemakers, 
blacksmiths, wagon makers, etc., but theirs was chiefly custom work 
and repairing. 

The first saw and grist mill was built by the Pottawattamie Indian 
Chiefs in 1841 from their own funds, the government having failed 
for more than three years to keep its promise to them in this respect. 
It was located on Mosquito creek, about two-and-one-half miles north 
and east from the site of Billy Caldwell's village and the old block- 
house, and was known as the "Pottawattamie Mill" while operated 
by or for the Indians. Afterward it was called "Wicks' Mill", and, 
finally, "Parks' Mill". 

In 1848 Madison Dagger built a grist mill at the foot of the bluff, in 
the western part of the Mormon settlement, less than a half mile north 
of the site of the present Federal Building. Its power was derived 
from Indian creek, the water being led by a race from the original 
channel at Benton street, along what were then known as Green and 
Race streets, to the mill site. Afterward machinery for manufacturing 
lumber was added. 

The field notes of the government survey, made in November, 1851, 
mention a saw mill on section 11, township 75, range 44. It was 
probably ])uilt early in 1851 by cither Cornelius Voorhis or Stephen 
T. Carey or by them jointly, being at times given the name of each — 
"Voorhis Mill" or "Carey Mill"— and sometimes as " Carey-Voorhis 
Mill". They made a joint purchase from the governniCMt of the land 
upon which it stood. Us power came from a spring that issued from 


the hills there, and near by were quarries of limestone, and several 
kilns for calcining the product. How long it was in operation no dis- 
covered record discloses. It was in ruins when first seen by the writer, 
in 1855. It stood at the then extreme head of "Big Lake". 

The writer has been informed that the little powder house which in 
early days was perched upon the top of the higli bluff on the south 
side of Pierce street, between South First street and Park Avenue, 
was built of bricks made in "Duck Hollow" in 1848. His memory 
recalls the fact, however, that it was commonly reported, in 1853, that 
the bricks for its construction were brought by boat from St. Louis or 
St. Joseph. There was no other brick building in the town in the 
spring of 1853. 

The first brickyard of commercial importance was established early 
in 1853 and was located not far from Dagger's mill. From bricks 
made there was constructed the first brick building (excepting the 
powder house) erected within the limits of the city. It was a one-story, 
two-room structure; owned by W. C. James and built with his own 
hands except as to carpentery. Its first occupant was the United 
States Land Office, in the late summer or fall of 1853. My father 
was then Register and Dr. Enos Lowe was receiver. Each office oc- 
cupied a room. Subsequently the ownership passed to Gardner 
("Gid") Robinson, by whom it was enlarged and for many years 
occupied as a residence. It is said that the Federal Building now 
covers the site. 

No steam ferry existed at Council Bluffs until 1854, when the Iowa 
and Nebraska Ferry Company was organized and placed in service 
a small boat named the ' ' Nebraska. ' ' The president of the company 
was Samuel S. Bayliss, and when a larger boat was required a few 
years later, it was named for his youngest daughter, "Lizzie Bayliss". 

Prior to the establishment of this ferry line regular steamboats 
plying the Missouri river, especially those built for the fur trade on 
the Upper Missouri, visited the place at the season of emigration and 
carried emigrants, all called "pilgrims" in those days, across the 
stream. Such fact is mentioned by Captain Joseph La Barge in the 
work relating to his life and adventures elsewliere quoted and cited in 
this work. (See History of Early Navigation on the Missouri River, 
Life and Adventures of Joseph La Barge.) 

Subsequent to the abandonment of the De Smet mission (1841) and 
until the arrival of the Mormons (1846), no church organization of 
any kind was represented among the Pottawattamies of the region. 


The Indians were without school teachers or religious instructors. In 
1851 a small organization of Congregationalists and Methodists was 
formed under the leadership of Revs. G. G. Rice and Wm. Simpson, 
which occupied rented quarters for use as a chapel. The first church 
edifice erected by "gentiles" was due to the efforts of Elder Moses F. 
Shinn, who persistently solicited in the highways and by ways until 
sufficient funds were raised to erect the small frame structure known 
as the Methodist Church which for many years stood on Pierce street, 
between Park Avenue and First street, where it was built in 1854. 

Under act of Congress of August 22, 1852 (10 Stat., 26), the United 
States established at Kanesville, September 2, 1852, a land office, for 
which Joseph H. D. Street and Dr. Samuel M. Ballard were commis- 
sioned Register and Receiver, respectively. Delay in preparation of 
necessary books deferred the beginning of land sales, however, until 
March 12, 1853. The office name was changed to Council Bluffs in 
1855. The office was discontinued May 13, 1873. Subsequent Registers 
were Lysander W. Babbitt, James Pollard, Lewis S. Hills (demo- 
cratic) ; Frank Street, Sylvanus Dodge, N. Baldwin (republicans) ; 
the Receivers were Enos Lowe, A. H. Palmer (democrats), and Dexter 
C. Bloomer (republican), the latter serving from April 2, 1861, to dis- 
continuance of the office — twelve years. 

An act of the State legislature (approved January 19, 1853, to 
become effective after publication) authorizing the change of name 
from Kanesville to Council Bluffs, became operative February 9, 1853. 
(See Sess. Laws, 4th Gen. Ass., Chap. 43, page 72.) 

By legislative enactment of January 24, 1853 (Sess. Laws, 4th 
Gen. Ass., page 108), entitled "Incorporation of Council Bluffs City", 
incorporation under the name Council Bluffs was authorized. Many 
letters of business men immediately following incorporation were 
dated and bore the printed heading "Council Bluffs City". This act 
became operative immediately upon its passage; so, the city was in- 
corporated before legal change of name occurred. 

Although not strictly within the purpose of this work to make 
special mention of individual citizens of Council Bluffs, except as 
merely incidental to some other matter, it is deemed proper to state 
that, in 1853, Grenville M. Dodge became one of her citizens, afterward 
becoming a prominent figure in the history of the United States, 
earning the military title of Major General in the War of the Re- 
bellion and serving with great distinction as Chief Engineer in the 
construction of the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad. 


In a biographical sketch published in connection with his obituary 
it was stated that he "discovered the South Pass" through the Rocky 
Mountains; but history accords that honor to Etienne Prevost, about 
the year 1832. The pass was well known to and used by the fur 
companies operating in that region at an early day, and it was through 
information and sketch maps obtained from them that Brigham Young, 
with his exploring party, was aided in finding his way by that route 
to Great Salt Lake in 1847, 

By act of Congress, approved April 6, 1854 (10 Stat, 273), it was 
provided — 

' ' That the judge of the county court, as such, for the county 
of Pottawattamie, in the State of Iowa, be, and he is hereby, 
authorized to enter at the proper land office, by paying there- 
for, at the rate of one dollar and twenty-five cents the acre, 
the west half of the southwest quarter of section thirty, the 
west half of the northwest quarter of section thirty-one, in 
township number seventy -five, north of range forty-three M^est; 
the southeast quarter and the east half of the southwest quarter 
of section twenty-five, and the northeast quarter and the east 
half of the northwest quarter of section thirty-six, in township 
seventy-five, north of range forty-four west, in said State of 
Iowa, in trust for the several use and benefit of the occupants 
thereof, according to their respective interests; . . . ," 

Under which authority Frank Street, then county judge, made what 
is known as the townsite entry of "Kanesville" or "Council Bluffs", 
May 10, 1854. 

Prior to this, however, on June 3, 1853, Cornelius Voorhis, who had 
been elected Mayor of the recently incorporated city, applied to 

". . . purchase in trust for the benefit of the occupants of 
said city, the NWi^SWi/4 of section No. 30, in Township No. 
75, north of Range No. 43 west, and the SEi^ and the SE% 
SWi/4 of section No. 25, and the NEl^NWl^ and the North- 
west quarter of the Northeast quarter of section No. 36, all in 
Township No. Seventy-five North of No. 44 West, in the district 
of lands subject to sale at Kanesville, Iowa; . . . which 
lots of land above described contain Three Hundred and Four- 
teen Acres and Fifty Hundredths. ' ' 

This application was rejected on the ground, chiefly, that no law 
existed authorizing entry in that manner; but also because protest 
against allowance thereof had been made by the Bishop of the Diocese 
of Dubuque, who claimed for the Catholic Church ownership to twenty 


acres in the W3^SWi4 of said section 30, on which stood the old 
blockhouse formerly occupied by the De Smet mission; the claim of 
the church being based upon the language of Article IX, of the Potta- 
wattamie treaty of 1846. This building stood upon the SWI/4SW14 of 
section 30, and it is presumed that said tract was omitted from the 
Voorhis application for the purpose of avoiding controversy. 

In connection with the church protest proceedings were had before 
the General Land Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which were 
pending at the time Judge Street's entry was made, serving to suspend 
action thereon and preventing issue of patent for the townsite until 
April 20, 1883, almost precisely twenty-nine years from date of entry. 
(See Old Blockhouse.) 

A survey of the townsite, as entered by Judge Street, was made by 
Thomas Tostevin, in 1854, delimitating the boundaries of the holdings 
of the several occupants of the land, which served as the basis for all 
deeds of conveyance executed by the county judge thereafter, and 
upon which now rest all land titles within that portion of the present 


Prior to 1857 newspapers, or publications having general subscrip- 
tion circulation, were established as follows : 

Frontier Guardian, by Orson Hyde, 1849; 
Weekly Western Bugle, by Almon W. Babbitt, 1850 ; 
Council Bluffs Chronotype, by W. W. Maynard, 1854 ; 
Democratic Clarion, by A. P. Bentley, 1855. 

The Guardian was absorbed by the Bugle ; the Chronotype and Clarion 
died natural deaths; the Bugle was discontinued in 1870, being suc- 
ceeded by the Council Bluffs Times, which died a lingering death a 
year or so afterward. 

The Weekly Nonpareil was established in 1857 by Maynard and 
Long; developed a daily edition during the civil war, and is still 
"doing business at the old stand". 

The first dramatic performance at Council Bluffs was by amateurs, 
"The Forrest Dramatic Association", in 1856. Babbitt's Hall, in 
the old Phof-nix Block, was fitted with stage and George Simons 
painted the scenery. The opening bill was "The Forest Rose" and 
"Paddy Miles' Boy". Many of the leading citizens participated in 
the performances of the association, which contiinicd for two or three 
years when the field was abandoned to professionals represented by 
traveling combinations. 






The Sketch Map from which this diagram is taken — slightly larger 
than this copy — was made at or near Council Bluffs in 1837 by Dr. 
Edwin James, the first Sub-Agent in charge of the Pottawattamie 
Indians in Iowa, to accompany the first official report (August 11, 
1837,) submitted by him to General William Clark, Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, and was by the latter forwarded to the 
Secretary of War, then in charge of Indian Affairs, with a letter dated 
September 20, 1837. 

It will be remembered that at the time the sketch map was made 
no survey of any character had been made of the country to which 
the map relates; that Dr. James made the drawing entirely from his 
own observation and from information derived from trappers and 
others who had partially explored the region. Taking into considera- 
tion these facts the map is wonderfully accurate. 

The original of this map is in the office of the Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C. (Pottawattamie File "C"). Notice 
the name "Welch's Creek" applied to what is now called Pigeon. It 
was named "Indian Knob Creek" by Lewis and Clark, and is shown 
on Nicollet's map of 1843 as "Gopher Creek." 


By treaty executed July 15, 1830 (7 Stat., 328-332), territory on 
the Missouri river, now embraced in southwestern Iowa and the north- 
west corner of Missouri, was ceded to the United States by the tribes 
or nations of Indians known as Sacs, Sioux, lowas, Otoes, Missourias, 
Foxes; they reserved hunting privileges therein until such time as 
the government should locate upon the lands other Indians, whose 
removal from east of the Mississippi river was contemplated, or until 
other appropriation thereof should be made. 

That portion of the ceded territory now in the State of Missouri 
was triangular in form, or wedge shaped, and situated between the 
Little Platte and Missouri rivers, being about fifty miles wide at the 
northern end and running to a point at the junction of the streams, 
opposite the site of the present Kansas City. 

By treaties executed September 26 and 27, 1833 (7 Stat., 442 to 
448), several bands of Chippewas, Ottawas and Pottawattamies ceded 
to the United States their possessory right to lands in the States of 
Illinois and Indiana, consenting to removal to the west of the Missis- 
sippi river, and a portion of the territory acquired by the United 
States under the treaty of 1830, above mentioned, was assigned to 
them, being specifically described by metes and bounds in the later 
treaty, when finally ratified, as follows : 

* ' Beginning at the mouth of Boyer 's river ; thence down the 
Missouri river to a point thereon from which a due E line 
would strtke the NW corner of the State of Missouri ; thence 
along said E line to the NW corner of said State ; thence along 
the northern boundary of Missouri till it strikes the line of 
the lands of the Sac and Fox Indians; thence northwardly 
along said line to a point from which a W line would strike 
the sources of the little Sioux river- thence along said W line 
till it strikes the sources of said river; thence down said river 
to its mouth ; thence down the Missouri river to the beginning, 
provided that the said boundary shall contain 5,000,000 acres ; 
but should it contain more, then the said boundaries are to be 
correspondingly reduced." 

The northern boundary of this territory was never delimitated ; but 
the site of the present city of Council Bluffs was embraced therein; 


the wedge-shaped tract in Missouri was not. It may here be said 
that, at the dates of the treaty last mentioned, the north line of the 
State of Missouri appeared upon official maps several miles north of 
the now existing Missouri-Iowa boundary, and the northwest corner 
of Missouri, referred to in the description of lands above given, was 
fifty or sixty miles east of the point at which it was finally established 
— that is, a few miles east of Bedford, the county seat of Taylor 
County, Iowa. 

The removal of the Pottawattamie Indians from Illinois, under 
the treaty of 1833, began in the fall of 1835, as hereinafter shown by 
official records. The removal was under the supervision of the War 
Department of which the Indian Bureau was then a part, and, for 
reasons not necessary to state here, the officers and contractors having 
charge thereof carried the greater number of their charges to the 
triangular territory above mentioned, although this land was not 
included in the 1833 treaty. The Indians were located near and 
opposite Fort Leavenworth and it was with great difficulty that they 
were afterward induced to leave such location and take up residence 
upon the Iowa lands. 

The lands embraced in the triangle were unconditionally ceded to 
the United States by the Indians party to the treaty of 1830 by treaties 
of Sept. 10, 17, 27 ; Oct. 15, and Nov. 30, 1836 (see 7 Stat., 510, 511, 
516, 524, 525, 527) , and became a part of the State of Missouri. It was 
known as the "Platte Purchase". Then the trespassing Indian emi- 
grants were forced to remove to the country assigned them in Iowa. 

There is some obscurity as to the precise date when the first of the 
Indians arrived in the vicinity of the site of the present city of 
Council Bluffs. There is some evidence, not fully convincing, in- 
dicating that one party reached that locality in 1835 or 1836, but no 
official record showing such fact has been found. Stutely E. Wicks, 
a white member of the tribe through marriage with an Indian woman, 
executed an affidavit at Council Bluffs, April 5, 1854, in which appears 
the following allegation, viz. : — 

"That he resided in the year 1836 with the Pottawattamie 
Indians in the Territory of Iowa immediately adjoining and 
contiguous to the Missouri River." 

But other allegations made in his deposition are so inconsistent with 
facts well established by conclusive evidence as to discredit this, it 


being apparent that he was mistaken in respect to dates of occurrences. 
(See ''Old Blockhouse".) 

The earliest officially authenticated arrival of the Pottawattamies 
at or near the site of the present city of Council Bluffs, occurred July 
28, 1837, when Brigadier General H. Atkinson, commanding the First 
Department of the Western Division of the Army, accompanied by 
Dr. Edwin James, recently appointed Indian Sub-agent and placed 
in charge of the Pottawattamies, with about one hundred of the women 
and children and other members of the nation unable to march, on 
board the steamer "Kansas", arrived at a point on the Missouri river 
"fifteen or eighteen miles above the mouth of the great Platte river" 
and landed "on the left bank of the Missouri river", where he 
formally committed the Indians to the care of the sub-agent by letter 
of that date wherein he said: 

"Hd. Qrs. 1st Dept. West. Div. of the U. S. Army, 
Steamboat Kansas, near Belleview, July 28, 1837. 

Having been ordered by the General in Chief of the Army, 
bearing date 20th June, and given in conformity with instruc- 
tions from the Secretary of War of the 19th of June, to remove 
the Pottawattamies to their lands agreeably to the treaty made 
on the 26th September, 1833, and ratified 21st Februar^^, 1835, 
and having landed a portion of them at this point, and the 
residue being on their march and will shortly arrive, I consider 
the object of the Government accomplished. . . , 
With respect. Sir, Your Ob't Serv't 

H. Atkinson, Brig. Gen'l. 
Dr. Edwin James, 

Sub-Agent for Pottawattamies." 

Pursuant to his duty General Atkinson made report to the Governor 
of Missouri, as follows: 

"Hd. Qrs. 1st Dept. West. Div. of the Army, 
Steamboat Kansas, Roche's Point, August 2, 1837. 
To His Excellency, 

G. W. Boggs, Governor of the State of Missouri. 

I have the honor to inform you that, in obedience to orders 
from the Secretary of War, I have removed the Pottawattamie 
Indians from within the limits of this State to their own lands, 
and they have selected a position and located themselves on the 
left bank of this river fifteen or eighteen miles above the great 
Platte river. . . . 


With highest Consideration, Sir, I have the Honor to be 
Your Most Ob't Serv't, 

H. Atkinson, Brig. Gen'l U. S. Army." 

General Atkinson submitted simultaneous, but separate, reports, in 
substantially the same language, to Major General Macomb, General 
in Chief of the Army, and to General William Clark, Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs. The following is from the letter to General Clark, 
to-wit : 

"Hd. Qrs. 1st Dept. West. Div. of the U. S. Army, 

Jefferson Barracks, August 5, 1837. 

I returned yesterday from among the Pottawattamies and 
lowas and Sacks of the Missouri River, whither I had been 
ordered by the Secretary of War to remove the Pottawattamies 
to their own lands agreeably to treaty. Part of the band, accom- 
panied by their agent, Dr. James, was landed at a point on 
the left bank of the Missouri river fifteen or eighteen miles 
above the mouth of the great Platte, whither the main body 
were under march and would arrive in four or five days after. 
This position or one In the immediate neighborhood is selected 
by the Indians as their permanent home. . . . 

With Great Respect, Sir, I have the Honor 

to be Your Ob't Serv't, 
H. Atkinson, Brig. G^n'l U. S. Army, 
General William Clark, 

Superintendent of Indian Affairs, St. Louis." 

The foregoing extracts are taken from unpublished copies of letters 
and reports in the files of the Indian Office, Washington, D. C, re- 
lating to the emigration of the Pottawattamie Indians under the treaty 
of 1833. The removal of those who finally located in Southwestern 
Iowa, never exceeding 3000, began in 1835 and terminated in 1838. 
With his official report, dated November 28, 1840, the Commissioner 
of Indian Affairs submitted a statement from which has been taken the 

Captain Russell removed, in the fall of 1835. a large 
party of the Chicago Indians, and, in 1836, Mr. Ker- 
cheval removed another party ; but it would appear, from 
a letter from Dr. James, sub-agent, &c., that both to- 
gether did not exceed 1,455 

Prior to November, 1837, the same band had removed, 
themselves 842 


On the 26th of November, 1837, Colonel Sands de- 
livered 287 

And, in the fall of 1838, Mr. Berry delivered 150 

Whole number of Ottawas, Chippewas and Potta- 
wattamies removed prior to 1840 (all in the Council 

Bluffs sub-agency) 2,734 

(H. Doc, 26th Cong., 2d Sess., Volume 1, Page 253.) 

August 4, 1837, Captain D. B. Moore, in command of Company C 
of the First Regiment of Dragoons, having marched from Fort Leav- 
enworth, arrived at the Council Bluffs Sub-agency for the purpose of 
affording protection to the emigrating Pottawattamies from hostile 
treatment by their belligerent neighbors to the northward. Pursuant 
to his orders he caused to be erected in that vicinity a blockhouse, and, 
with his command returned to Fort Leavenworth on November 1, 
1837, his report to Colonel Kearny relative to the carrying out of 
orders given in connection with the expedition having been dated at 
Fort Leavenworth on the 11th of that month. (See "Old Block- 

This blockhouse formed the nucleus of Chief Billy Caldwell 's village. 
The precise dates when it was begun and finished have not been found ; 
nor is it known with certainty when Caldwell and his band took up 
residence there ; but it may be presumed that the two events were 

The place of first encampment of the Pottawattamies was described 
in the first official report submitted by Dr. James, sub-agent, and the 
report was accompanied by a sketch map of the new Pottawattamie 
country, a diagram prepared from it is printed herein. From Dr. 
James' report is taken the following: 

"Sub-Agency of Council Bluffs, 

(Bellevue) Aug. 11th, 1837. 

Gen. Wm. Clark. 

Sir: The second detachment of emigrating Pottawattomies, 
about seventy-five in number, arrived in their own country pr. 
steamboat Howard on the 8th inst. and encamped with those 
who came by the Kansas, about two miles above this place in a 
grove adjoining a fine dry prairie. This position combines more 
advantages than we can find in any other; here we expect to 
establish the issue house, and to be joined before many days 
by the main body of the nation, who have now been twenty- 


three days on the march by land from the Black Snake 
ffills. . ' . . 

With great respect your obedient servant, 

Edwin James, Sub- Agent for Council Bluffs." 
(S. Doc. 25th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 549.) 

From the next letter or report submitted by Dr. James, which does 
not appear to have been published, though on file in the Indian Office, 
the following extract is made, to-wit: 

"Sub-Agency of Council Bluifs, Aug. 30th, 1837. 
Gen. Wm. Clark. 

Sir: All of the Pottawattomies lately resident in the Platte 
Purchase have arrived in their own country, except two or three 
who died by the way. 

They express themselves well satisfied with the lands and 
profess a strong desire to cultivate largely ; and to have schools 
established among them without loss of time. . . . " 

It is not the purpose of this work to give a complete history in 
detail of the Pottawattamie Indians in southwestern Iowa, but to 
note merely such principal matters of interest among them as pertain 
to the immediate vicinity of Council Bluffs, although the writer feels 
constrained to make correction of error relating to the general history 
of these Indians where the same has come to his notice in the course 
of research for this publication. It clearly appears, from the report 
of Dr. James, and other authorities herein cited, that all of the Potta- 
wattamies who had been upon the Platte Purchase, and about 280 from 
east of the Mississippi, not reported by him, reached the neighborhood 
of the site of the present city of Council Bluffs in 1837, and about 150, 
from the east, joined them in 1838. In his annual report for 1838, 
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs said : 

"There have emigrated within the year 151 Chippewa, 
Ottawa and Pottawattamies. " (Sen. Doc, 25th Cong., 3d Sess., 
Vol. 1, page 443.) 

The various bands soon spread over the adjacent country and estab- 
lished villages at many points. The village of Billy Caldwell's band 
was situated upon the precise spot where the original town of Council 
Bluffs b(!camo located in 1846, and probably not over 500 Indians were 
at any one time located in that immediate vicinity. 

Mr. Jacob Van der Zee, in a paper published in the July, 1913, 


number of the Iowa Journal of History and Politics, reprinted as a 
booklet under the title ' ' Episodes in the Early History of the Western 
Iowa Country", has stated, upon the authority of a number of writers 
and publications duly accredited, that : 

"Dr. James continued to reside at 'the Council Bluffs sub- 
agency' until his resignation in 1838, and after that the Council 
Bluffs agent at Bellevue took charge for a while. David Hardin 
and his family arrived early in the spring of 1838 on board 
the steamer 'Antelope' from Fort Leavenworth. He had been 
appointed farmer to the Pottawattamies in September, 1836, 
at a salary of $600. It is said that he located near a big spring 
on what is now East Broadway, Council Bluff's. The Potta- 
wattamies planted very little com or anything else, 'except 
here and there one, who happened to have a hoe or a plough'. 
One band consisting of about one-third of the nation, headed 
by Chief Big Foot, did not enter the Iowa country until the 
fall of 1838 and then retired eastward to set up a village on 
the Nishnabotna river almost fifty miles away. All the other 
villages were from two to fifteen miles distant from the agency 
buildings. ' ' 

Mr. Hardin's name was Davis (not David). He was appointed 
Assistant Indian Farmer September 1, 1836, with salary of $600, and 
assumed duty in 1837 at the Council Bluffs Sub-agency, under contract 
with Dr. James, and appears upon the published roll of Indian Bureau 
employees for that year as "David Harolin"; on the 1838 roll the 

name is " Hardin". It appears from unpublished records in 

the Indian Office that his legal connection with the service terminated 
with that year, but he was recognized by the Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs as entitled to pay to the close of 1839, when his name was 
dropped from the official roll. He continued to reside upon the agency 
farm, although efforts were made to oust him, and alleged that he 
had not been formally notified of his removal; so, June 20, 1842, a 
formal letter of dismissal was delivered to him in person, whereupon 
he demanded payment to that date. The attainable records do not 
disclose the final disposition of his claim. 

He may have located with his family temporarily at the spring on 
East Broadway; but the agency farm, — to at least a part of which 
one of his sons subsequently acquired title, — was found by the United 
States Surveys made in 1851 and 1852, to embrace the Lot 4 (W^^ 
SWi/i) Sec. 14, and E1/2SE14 Sec. 15, T. 74 N., R. 44 W., 5th P. M. 


(See Kanesville Cash Entry No. 160, made by Richard S. Hardin, 
May 28, 1853, General Land Office file.) This land lies two miles 
west and four miles south of the site of Billy Caldwell's village, and 
is partly within the "4-mile circle from the postoffice," as that circle 
is laid down on "Allen's Suburban Map of Council Bluffs" published 
in 1890. 

In his official report of October 12, 1840, Sub-agent Stephen Cooper 


' ' There is no farmer within my agency and the Indians state 
they do not wish for one." 

(Sen. Doc., 26th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 322.) 

(Also see Sen. Doc, 28th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 1, page 393.) 

May 31, 1838, Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, S. J., accompanied 
by Father Felix Verreydt and lay brother Mazelli, arrived at the 
Council Bluffs sub-agency and established among the Pottawattamies 
a mission which was named St. Joseph but frequently mentioned by 
the name St. Mary. The old fort given them by Colonel Kearney, to 
which they built an addition, together with some small cabins given 
by Chief Caldwell and a dwelling erected by themselves in 1839, 
served as church or chapel, school and residence for the missionaries. 
(See "Old Blockhouse".) 

Father De Smet's early letters from this mission are said to have 
been the beginning of the series from which his name became so widely 
known. They contained glowing accounts of the success being attained 
in the evangelization and education of the Indians ; but he was called 
away and sent to other fields late in 1839, and prosperity, which had 
already begun to wane, seems to have forsaken the mission entirely 
soon after his departure, and it was closed and finally abandoned in 
July or August, 1841, having lived but a little more than three years. 
No other mission or school of any kind appears to have been established 
at the place during the subsequent six years of occupancy by the 

Ilon. Dexter C. Bloomer, of Council Bluffs, published more matter 
relative to the early history of the Council Bluffs region than any 
other person. He was a most estimable and conscientious man ; but, 
unfortunately, although a lawyer by profession, he was not a deep 
investigator. Nearly all of the quasi historical matter furnished by 
him was based upon hearsay, legend and tradition, and much of it 
proves upon investigation to have been erroneous. Especially is this 


the case with his contributions to Annals of Iowa relative to the 
coming of the Pottawattamies and the building of the old blockhouse. 
(See Annals of Iowa, Volumes 8-9, pages 523, 527, 666; also Third 
Series, Volume 2, page 549.) 

Mr. Bloomer fixed the dates of the coming of the Indians and the 
erection of the blockhouse as 1838 and 1839 respectively; whereas 
they were practically synonymous events which occurred in 1837. He 
said that the blockhouse was the "first building erected in Potta- 
wattamie county", apparently forgetting or ignoring the fact that 
he had also written of the location of Hart 's trading house within that 
territory "as early as 1824". In connection with the arrival of the 
Indians he said: "Davis Hardin was their agent and came with 
them ' ' ; also that, ' ' Mr. Hardin caused a mill to be built on Mosquito 
creek for the grinding of grain raised by them and himself". 

There is no record connected with the arrival of the Pottawattamie 
Indians in the vicinity to indicate that Mr. Hardin was with them. 
The record shows that Dr. Edwin James came with the party that 
first arrived, having been appointed as a sub-agent and assigned to 
the Pottawattamies in April, 1837, and that the emigrating Indians 
were delivered to him by General Atkinson on the date of arrival. 
The farm settled upon by Mr. Hardin — that is selected by him for the 
Indians, whose farmer he was — comprised land near what was after- 
ward called "Council Point", but no such name existed at the date 
of his arrival. The official records (letters on file in the Indian Office) 
show that the mill referred to by Mr. Bloomer was built at the expense 
of the Indians, in 1841, by Samuel N. Holcomb, under contract made 
in 1840 between him and Chief Billy Caldwell, at which time Mr. 
Hardin had no connection with the Indian service. 

For several years after the Pottawattamies left the vicinity the mill 
just mentioned was operated under lease by Stutely E. Wicks, and, in 
time, became known as "Wicks' Mill". Tradition accredited Mr. 
Wicks as miller for the Indians, but no government record attests the 
fact. He was undoubtedly connected with the institution while under 
Indian or government control, but does not appear to have held ap- 
pointment as miller. He became owner of the property by purchase 
from George Scofield, who entered and acquired title from the govern- 
ment to the land upon which it stood. (See Cash Entry No. 184, 
Kanesville series. May 31, 1854, in General Land Office files, Wash- 
ington, D. C.) 


The fii'st mention of this mill found in published reports of the 
Indian ser\dce appears under date of October 2, 1841, wherein Sub- 
agent Cooper said : 

"There is neither farmer nor school teacher employed by 
the Government within this sub-agency. 

The Chiefs complain that their treaty stipulations have not 
been complied with, and, in consequence of which, they have 
built a saw-and-grist mill at their own expense that is doing 
a tolerable good business. 

Bill Caldwell, the principal business chief of this nation, 
and who drew a life annuity of $1,000 per annum, died on the 
27th ultimo." 

(Sen. Doc, 27th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 357.) 

(Sen. Doc, 28th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 1, page 393.) 

Some of the errors above mentioned have been repeated and per- 
petuated in publications of later date. Among those that have come 
to the attention of the writer are : 

"History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa", by Homer H. 
Field and Jaseph R. Reed; 

"History of Iowa", by Hon. Benjamin F. Cue; 

"History of Western Iowa", published by the Western Pub- 
lishing Company, Sioux City; 

"History of Mills County, Iowa", published by the Iowa His- 
torical Company, Chicago; 

"History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa", published by O. L. 
Baskin & Co., Chicago; 

"Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa", 1891, 
published by the Lewis Publishing Company; 

"Episodes in the Early History of Western Iowa", by Jacob 
Van der Zee, reprinted from the July, 1913, number of the 
Iowa Journal of History and Politics, by the State Historical 
Society of Iowa, Iowa City. 

A quotation from the work last-above mentioned has been made 
hereinbefore which contains, in addition to other things, the statement 
that Bigfoot's band did not "enter the Iowa country until the fall 
of 1838" and then "set up a village on the Nishnabotna River" 
fpage 24). On page 25, referring to the fear of the Pottawattamies 
soon aftf'r aiTival that tliey would be attacked by the Sioux, it is 

said : 

"To quiet tlicir ;ilarm and apprehensions Colonel Stephen 
Watts Kearny hastened from Fort Ijeavenwortli in command 
of a bo<ly of dragoons, arriving on l)()ard the steamer 'Antelope'. 


They at once erected a block-house twenty-four feet square 
and set up barracks and tents on the ground near by. ' ' 

Both of the statements are erroneous. According to the official 
records Bigfoot's band arrived in the Iowa country in the fall of 1837. 
Indian Agent John Dougherty, then in charge of the Pottawattamie 
sub-agency, in his official report dated Bellevue, November 25, 1838, 
stated that: 

' * Big Foot 's band came too late to raise corn last spring. They 
came in last fall and received their annuities and rations, and 
returned to the Des Moines River, where they spent the winter 
with some of the Missouri Sacs, and I understand it is their 
intention to return to that place as soon as they receive their 
annuities again." (Sen. Doc, 25th Cong., 3d Sess., Vol. 1, page 

Official documents indicate that Colonel Kearny was officially 
present in the vicinity of Council Bluffs' site spring of 1838; summer 
of 1839, and in 1840 ; no other visits mentioned. On the latter occasion 
he was in command of troops contemplating punitive measures against 
the Pawnees and Otoes. The other visits were for examination of sites 
for a fort, on the west (right) side of the river, resulting in the location 
of the old fort which bore his name at the site of Nebraska City. He 
left Fort Leavenworth June 30, 1846, for participation in the war 
with Mexico. (Sen. Doc, 29th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 49.) 

Referring to the location of the several bands or tribes under his 
jurisdiction. Sub-agent Cooper, in his report dated October 12, 1840, 

"Many of them have large fields, well fenced in, with good 
log cabins, and are settled in villages from two to five, ten or 
fifteen miles from the Council Bluffs sub-agency — except Big 
Foot's band, who live upon the waters of the Nishnebottona, 
about fifty miles east of this agency, which band constitutes 
about one-third of the nation." (Sen. Doc, 26th Cong 2d 
Sess., Vol. 1, page 321.) 

It is within the knowledge of the writer, founded on good authority, 
that Big Foot's village was on Indian creek, a tributary of the Nish- 
nabotna river, a short distance above the confluence with that river 
which place subsequently became known, and still appears upon maps, 
as Iranistan. That is, the village was "on the waters of the Nish- 
nebottona", but not actually on that stream. 


The report last quoted showed, also, that the offices of the sub- 
agency were still situated nearly opposite the mouth of the Platte 
river, and that the number of Indians within the sub-agency was about 
two thousand, of whom 550 were warriors. (See Sen. Doc, 26th Cong., 
2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 322.) 

An additional report was submitted by Sub-agent Cooper, in the 
fall of 1840, wherein appears the following: 

' ' Schools, there are none here under the authority of the gov- 
ernment. There are two Roman Catholic priests residing within 
my agency, of good moral character, who set a good example to 
the Indians and half breeds. They have a chapel, and school, 
and teacher, and have several young Indians in the school who 
are coming on pretty well." (Sen. Doc, 26th Cong., 2d Sess., 
Vol. 1, page 397.) 

The original landing of the Indians in 1837 was in the vicinity of 
the site of the agency farm as located by Mr. Hardin ; possibly at the 
lauding shown by government survey about a mile below Hardin's 
house, now in Lake Manawa. Soon after the landing headquarters of 
the sub-agency were established at a point nearly opposite the mouth 
of the Platte river. Sometime prior to 1845 removal to Point aux 
Poulos was effected. July 24, of that year, Sub-agent Elliott re- 
ported that: 

''The number in this sub-agency is about 2000. 

We have no schools or missions among the Pottawattamies. 

The half breeds, men and women, among the Pottawattamies, 
all wear the dress of the whites, and adopt our mode of life 
so far as their knowledge and means enable them to do so. 

The office of this sub-agency is located at Point aux Poulos, 
on the northeast bank of the Missouri river, about twenty miles 
below the mouth of Boycr's river, and opposite Bellevue, as 
marked on the map. The distance to the Missouri State line is 
about thirty-five miles. High Creek postoffice, in Atchison 
(late Holt) County, Missouri, is the nearest postoffice to this 

The three trading houses of this sub-agency are at Point 
aux Poulos." (Sen. Doc, 29th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 1, page 

When the offices of the sub-agency were removed from the point 
opposite th(! mouth of the Platte; where removed to at the time, or 
when established at Point aux Poulos, are questions not answerable 


from any of the discovered official records. In the spring of 1843, 
when Captain Burgwin's cantonment of Fort Croghan was inundated 
by the Missouri river, it appears that the sub-agency establishment 
was also flooded, and it is not improbable that the offices were re- 
moved from the site then occupied at the same time as the troops 
removed to the highlands. Captain Burgwin was at the time in 
charge, temporarily, of the sub-agency affairs, and it is probable that 
he had removed the offices to his cantonment for convenience, and 
that they were removed to the same point to which the military estab- 
lishment was taken. 

Richard S. Elliott was appointed sub-agent of the Council Bluffs 
agency early in 1843, and assumed charge on June 1st of that year. 
In a letter of that date, addressed to the Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs at St. Louis, he reported his arrival and acknowledged receipt 
of the papers and effects of the sub-agency from Captain Burgwin 
as of that date. The precise point from which he wrote does not 
appear, but he said: 

"The mills for the agency for lumber and grist are in toler- 
able order; and a blacksmith shop is in progress of erection 
at the mills, the tools having been removed from the river on 
account of the high waters of a few weeks since. 

' ' I find no suitable buildings for the agency. There is a cabin 
some distance down the river from the point at which I write 
this, but it is unfortunately located as well for the health and 
comfort of the Sub-Agent as for the business of the Indians; 
and it should, I think, be sold as soon as possible. It might, 
I have no doubt, be disposed of to the present occupant, Mr. 
Stephen Cooper, who is a mere tenant by sufferance, but would 
be very unwilling to leave the place if he could avoid it. If 
authorized to do so I will dispose of the building. Mr. Cooper 
is a licensed trader. 

"Under the circumstances I deem it my duty, as well to the 
Indians as to my family, to request an allowance of at least 
five hundred dollars to erect a suitable agency house, and, if 
I receive the allowance, I will locate the building so as to 
accommadate the Indians during their stay in the country, and 
to bring the government a good price when they leave. I have 
no house now. . . ." 

Soon after his arrival Mr. Elliott recommended the appointment 
as interpreter for the sub-agency of Claude Laf ramboise, to succeed 
Louis Ouilmot, and, in a letter dated July 31, 1843, explained to the 


Superintendent of Indian Affairs his reasons for the recommendation 

as follows: 

" .... My reasons for nominating Mr. Lafraraboise 
were these : Mr. Louis Ouilmot informed me that he did not 
desire to remain in the situation, and Mr. Laframboise appeared 
to be well qualified, resides near my office at Caldwell 's Village, 
and is very hospitable to the Indians. . . ." 

It thus appears that at the date of that letter the offices of the sub- 
agency, such as they were, were at Billy Caldwell's village, the site 
of the present city of Council Bluffs. How long they were maintained 
at that point does not appear; but it is evident that the location was 
merely temporary, and that they were established (probably re-estab- 
lished) at Point aux Poulos, where was situated the house mentioned 
as being occupied by Mr. Cooper, as indicated by Mr. Elliott's letter 
of June 1, 1843, quoted and cited above. It does not clearly appear 
whether Mr, Elliott was allowed the funds for the erection of a new 
house; the correspondence relating to his request indicated that the 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs was opposed to the making of such 
expenditure at the time. 

September 26, 1843, Sub-Agent Elliott, who had been in charge of 
the sub-agency for about four months, wrote regarding the Potta- 
wattamie lands as follows : 

"These lands are exceedingly fertile, but, owing to the 
scarcity of timber, of rock and indeed minerals of every kind, 
they are not so valuable for the purposes of the white man as 
one would suppose by looking at the map, which shows this 
region to be the only outlet to market for the vast Territory 
of Iowa. Still, their value is sufficient to justify the Govern- 
ment in paying a very handsome price for them, and it is mani- 
fest that they must be treated for at a very early date." 

This appraisement of the value of the Pottawattamie lands must be 
regarded as almost humorous by readers of the present day when 
there is scarcely an acre of the entire domain, except that occupied 
by towns and cities, highways and other public service works, not 
actually devoted to purposes of agriculture of the most profitable 
(•hara(!tor; and when the newspapers frequently announce sale at from 
(Hie hundred and twoity-five to two hundred dollars per acre at public 
auction in the settlement of estates, &c. 

Within the territory formerly occupied by the Pottawattamies are 


thousands of acres of the finest and most profitable apple orchards 
in the world, while the production of corn and other field crops 
throughout the region is phenomenal. These, coupled with the stock- 
raising pursuits of the people, justify the belief that there exists no 
richer section anywhere. 

Early in 1842 circumstances indicated serious trouble between the 
Pottawattamies and Sioux, the latter never having become reconciled 
to the occupancy of the country by the former. The Pottawattamies, 
anticipating attack, had arranged for assistance in the defense with 
neighboring Otoes, lowas and Sacs, and war seemed imminent. Colonel 
Kearny, in command at Fort Leavenworth, despatched Captain J. H. 
K, Burgwin, with a company of the First Dragoons to the scene of 
action. The troops arrived May 31st and established a military post 
near the Indian farm which they named Camp Fenwick. In the fall 
they constructed a log cantonment and the name was changed to Fort 
Croghan, where the command spent the winter. In April, 1843, a 
freshet in the Missouri river inundated the cantonment, compelling 
the command to retire to the highlands. Soon afterward the eminent 
naturalist, John James Audubon, visited the place and there for the 
first time saw a Yellow-headed Troupial. The fort was abandoned 
October 6, 1843. (See Fort Croghan.) 

The Pottawattamie occupancy of the territory in Iowa, in which is 
included the site of the present city of Council Bluffs, continued for 
a period of a little more than ten years — 1837 to 1847 — their possessory 
right having been terminated by a treaty negotiated at Washington 
during the winter and spring of 1846 (see 9 Stat. 853-856), which was 
signed by the Iowa bands June 5th, and by those on the Osage river 
June 17th, of that year. Under the terms of this treaty the Indians 
relinquished claim to the Iowa lands receiving in exchange a money 
consideration and a tract of land thirty miles square in Kansas, and 
they were obligated to remove within two years from the date of 
the ratification of the treaty by the United States Senate, which 
occurred July 22, 1846, and the treaty was officially promulgated by 
proclamation issued the following day. These bands were composed 
of Ottawa, Chippewa and Pottawattamie Indians and, it was pro- 
vided by the treaty just mentioned that thereafter they should be 
known as the " Pottowautomie Nation". 

The removal occurred, or was at least begun, in the fall of 1847, 
and in reference to that event Thomas H. Harvey, Superintendent of 


Indian Affairs at St. Louis, addressed a communication to the Com- 
missioner of Indian Affairs, dated October 29, 1847, wherein he said : 

"The Potawatomies, although not compelled to emigrate 
until July, 1848, have commenced emigration under the most 
satisfactory circumstances. I attended the payment at the 
Council Bluffs sub-agency, and urged their immediate emigra- 
tion ; they entered into it with great spirit, and immediately 
after payment, started for their new homes, crossing the Mis- 
souri river at different points in large parties. ... I 
presume before this reaches you, the Potawatomie emigration 
will have been completed. ' ' 

And he added, as an apparent important piece of information, this 
statement, viz.: 

"At the late Pottawattamie treaty (at both the Council 
Bluffs and Osage river sub-agencies) the Indians gave their 
notes to the traders for more than ninety thousand dollars." 
(Sen. Doc, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. 1, page 837.) 

The total number of these Indians did not exceed three thousand, 
so the notes given to the traders represented indebtedness amounting 
to about thirty dollars per capita. 

The precise date when the Pottawattamies began their removal 
from the vicinity of the site of the present city of Council Bluffs may 
not be more definitely fixed than it is by the preceding quotation; 
that is about September, 1847. It is clearly established, however, that 
the removal had been completely effected prior to the fall of 1848. In 
his official report dated Fort Leavenworth, September 26, 1848, Indian 
Agent R. S. Cummins said : 

"A census of the Pottawattamies I have not been able to 
take; even if they had been taken, they would not fully have 
answered the purpose. These Indians have but recently emi- 
grated to their new country." (Sen. Doc, 30th Cong., 2d 
Sess., Vol. 1, page 445.) 

Li a communication dated October 4, 1848, the Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs at St. Louis, said: 

"The Pottawattamies, who, at the date of my annual report 
of last year, liad not emigrated, have since removed to their 
new homes, without causing the slightest embarrassment to 
the f^overnmont ; they deserve much credit for tlieir prompt- 


ness, especially as the entire emigration was effected within 
the time limit of the treaty for their removal. They are pleased, 
and justly so, with their new homes, and I am gratified to be 
able to inform you that they are now living in fraternal amity, 
after having lived in separate bauds for so many years. ' ' ( Sen. 
Doc, 30th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 439.) 

In his official report for the year, dated November 30, 1848, the 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs stated that : 

"Within the past year the Pottawattamies, who have hereto- 
fore been separated (the larger portion being in Iowa and the 
others on the Osage river), have completed their removal to 
their new country on the Kansas river, between the Delawares 
and Shawnees, where they are now comfortably settled. . . . 
Much credit is due them, not only for their prompt removal, 
but for the peaceable and orderly manner in which it was con- 
ducted. It was a new feature in our Indian system, to see an 
entire tribe of Indians quietly and without disorder of any kind 
remove themselves to a new country, nearl}^ two hundred miles 
from most of them, in conformity with a stipulation to that 
effect in a treaty which had been made with the government; 
and bearing their own expenses out of funds set apart for that 
purpose." (Sen. Doc, 30th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 395.) 

The Commissioner, in this same report, referring to the Winne- 
bago Indians, said: 

"The removal of this tribe, and of the Pottawattamies, has 
entirely freed Iowa of her Indian population." (Sen. Doc, 
30th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 435.) 

During their residence in Southwestern Iowa the Pottawattamies 
made very slight progress toward civilization and established little 
or nothing resembling permanent homes or improvements of value. 
Their shortcomings in these respects were due, no doubt to their un- 
settled condition. There was scarcely an interval between the com- 
pletion of the treaty of 1833 by which they surrendered their lands 
in Illinois and Indiana and the beginning of overtures for the cession 
of the lands to which they were about to be removed, it having occurred 
to some one that they should be located farther south, at some point 
south of the Missouri river. (Sen. Doc, 24th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, 
pages 392-3, 395-6.) 

Efforts to secure a new treatv with these Indians continued to be 


made from time to time thereafter during their entire occupancy of 
the lands in Iowa and on the Osage river. Sub-agent R. B. Mitchell, 
in a report dated September 11, 1846, said : 

"The unsettled condition of this nation for some years has 
prevented their making the improvements necessary for con- 
venience and comfort." (Sen. Doc, 29th Cong., 2d Sess., 
Vol. 1, page 300.) 

The Missouri river near the site of the present city of Council 
Bluffs was reached by the advance guard of the Mormon emigration 
to the Rocky Mountains, June 14, 1846; a few days after the Potta- 
wattamie treaty had been signed by the Indians in that vicinity, and 
three days before it was signed by those residing in the Osage country. 
Their arrival was announced to the Department at Washington by 
report of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, dated St. Louis, Sep- 
tember 5, 1846. He said : 

"There is at this time, and has been for several months, a 
large number of Mormons (supposed to be 4,000 to 8,000) in 
the Indian country. They have passed into the Potawatomie 
Country at the Council Bluffs. A large number have crossed 
the Missouri river and are on their way to Grand Island, in 
the Platte or Nebraska river. Another portion of them are de- 
sirous to remain next spring on the Boyer river, in Potawatomie 
Country ; to which they have obtained the consent of the In- 
dians. The sub-agent at that place reports that they are con- 
ducting themselves well, and do not seem disposed to interfere 
at all with the Indians. I have instructed him to use his in- 
fluence to prevent a waste of timber by them." (Sen. Doc, 
29th Cong., 2d Sess., Vol. 1, page 287.) 

These Mormons, the Pottawattamie Indians, and here and there a 
"gentile" pioneer, occupied this southwestern Iowa country, the 
Mormon villages being scattered about as greatly as those of the 
Indians, for upward of a year prior to Indian removal, and, inasmuch 
as neither the records of the Indian Office nor those of the Mormon 
Church disclose serious difficulty among them, it may be assumed that 
they dwelled together in harmony and brotherly love. (See The 


Perhaps no one object at or near the site of the present city of 
Council Bluffs has afforded a wider field for surmise, discussion and 
dissemination of erroneous information than the "Old Blockhouse" 
of frontier days. It stood for about twenty years (1837 to 1857) upon 
the plateau crowning the blunt nose of the hill jutting into and almost 
perpendicularly towering, something like fifty feet, above the road, 
now called Broadway, between the present-day Grace and Union 
streets (the latter being known as Spring Street at an early day). 

From the earliest occupation of the country by white people — 1846 — 
to the time of its demolition — 1856-1857 — it was commonly mentioned 
as the "Old Fort" or "Old Mission", both of which designations were 
appropriate, because it was originally constructed by United States 
troops for military purposes (1837) and afterward (1838-1841) occu- 
pied as a Jesuit Mission known as St. Joseph or St. Mary. 

June 4, 1853, at the age of a little more than ten years, the writer 
began residence at Council Bluffs with the family of his father — 
Lysander W. Babbitt, — at which time the "Old Fort" or "Mission 
House", surmounted by a cross, occupied the above-described site. 
His home was about a half mile farther up (east and north) on 
Broadway — now known as "Babbitt Place", and almost daily while 
the old building remained he passed it at a distance of only a few 
yards, and often played about it with other children. In his memory 
it is pictured as a log structure, about 24 x 40 feet in dimension of 
ground space, one and one-half story in height, with an ordinary 
sloping roof, with embrasures (small windows) on north and west 
sides, and loopholes for musketry all around, standing in the open 
without stockade or other enclosure, or any evidence that it had ever 
been enclosed. Near by was a grave yard surrounded by a fence 
constructed of hand-riven palings. 

During the year 1856 intense rivalry existed between what were 
termed "up-town" and "down-town" portions of the city. The 
principal hotel, recently erected, was located "down town", and, for 
the benefit of their end of the toAvn, a company of "up-towners" was 
formed for the purpose of building a better and finer hostelry, the 
site of the old blockhouse being selected for its location. The old 


fort, then in a tumbled-down condition, was removed either that 
Fall or the following Spring, ?nd the ground, still practically in its 
natural condition (a plateau but slightly graded when the blockhouse 
was built) was cut away so that a precipitous bank something like 
thirty feet high formed the south line of Pierce Street, where the 
sharp pitch of the great bluff swept down to the plateau, and the 
grading necessary to the preparation of the hotel building site greatly 
reduced the elevation of the blunt nose of bluff jutting onto Broadway. 
Beyond the grading here mentioned nothing was done toward the 
erection of the new hotel ; probably because of the financial crisis of 
the Fall of 1857. 

An article entitled "The Old Blockhouse at Council Bluffs", written 
in August, 1896, by Hon. Dexter C. Bloomer, of Council Bluffs, ap- 
peared in the October issue of the Annals of Iowa for that year (Third 
Series, Volume 2, No. 7, page 549), with an illustration said to 
have been prepared from a sketch made from memory by George 
Simons, wherein it is said : 

' ' This was the first building erected in Pottawattamie county. 
In 1838 the Pottawattamie Indians were removed from the 
'Platte Purchase', so-called, in Missouri, to a location on the 
Missouri river which subsequently was organized into a county 
and took the name of the tribe. . . . 

"In 1839 the general government stationed two companies of 
troops among these Indians for the purpose of keeping peace 
and quiet among them, although, through the careful manage- 
ment of their Agent, their presence did not prove necessary for 
that purpose. These troops located themselves a short distance 
up in the bluffs in the little subsidiary valley of Indian creek 
and near a living spring found at that point. Here, on a gentle 
elevation, in the same year, they erected a blockhouse of logs and 
rough puncheons and raised the American flag over it. Its sides 
were pierced with numerous holes tlirough which muskets 
could be discharged in case of assault from without. The 
barracks, tents and parade grounds, and probably some minor 
structures, were located in the vicinity of this building. No 
record can be found of the. names of tlie officers in command of 
these troops. They did not remain a great while, for the reason 
already stated. With the Indians came a Roman Catholic 
Mission in charge of Fathers De Sraet and Verreydt. Tiiey also 
built for themselves a rude dwelling, but when the troops left 
they took possession of the government buldings, blockhouse 
and barracks, for n^ligious purposes, erecting a wooden cross 



over one of them. When the writer took up his residence in 
Council Bluffs, in 1855, these buildings (as shown in the cut), 
one of them surmounted by a cross, were yet standing. . . . " 

In the four-volume ''History of Iowa" compiled and published by 
Hon. Benjamin F. Gue, the foregoing narrative, with identically the 
same illustration is substantially reproduced. (Volume 1, pages 

(Picture by George Simon.) 

This is a reproduction of an illustration accompanying an article 
by Hon. D. C. Bloomer, published in Annals of Iowa in 1896 (3d 
Series, Volume 2, page 594), the cut having been made from a painting 
said to have been done by George Simons, from memory. 


In a two- volume "History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa", written, 
compiled and published by Homer H. Field and Hon. Joseph R, 
Reed, of Council Bluffs (Volume 1, page 6), appears the following: 

"The conditions above described continued until 1838, when, 
during President Van Buren's administration, the Pottawat- 
tamie Indians were assigned a reservation here, and Davis 
Hardin was appointed to instruct them in farming. He, with 
his family and a company of soldiers arrived here on the 
steamer Antelope from Fort Leavenworth, in the spring of 
that year. . . . Arriving here they found the country 
a solitude. They located by a big spring on what is now East 
Broadway and the soldiers immediately commenced building 
a house for the Hardins, and then a fort on the promontory 
that was a continuation of the hill between Franklin and 
Lincoln avenues, and which at that time jutted into what is 
now Broadway, where the dwelling of the late John Clausen 
now stands. ' ' 

Many other stories relating to this old fort have been published 
from time to time in current newspapers and otherwise, and the date 
of construction has been stated by some to have been as early as 
1819, running from that to the years above given ; but, in no instance 
that has come to the knowledge of the writer, has a letter-press descrip- 
tion of it, other than as above set out, been given. 

Hon. H. H. Field, a man of experience in estimating the dimensions 
of standing buildings, now residing at Council Bluffs, having been 
there continuously since 1855, in answer to inquiry, says — 

"The ruins of the old blockhouse were standing when I first 
came here. I should think it was about 20 feet square. It 
disappeared in the Spring of 1857, and several feet of the 
ground was taken off and put on Broadway to improve the 
grade ; but by what authority I do not know, but it was rumored 
that a hotel was to be built there by L. W. Babbitt and Dr. 
S. H. Craig. If there was anything in it the great crash that 
came in the Fall of that year put an end to it. I don't know 
when the (Government relinquished title to it, but suppose when 
.Judge Casady was commissioned to make deeds to the occu- 
pants. John Warner was the first that owned it to my knowl- 
edge as he <'Tnployed me to fence it, and John Clausen the last, 
as I worked on liis dwelling some forty years ago. The lot then 
consisted of nearly all the square hounded by Broadway, G-race, 
Union and Pierce streets." 


Hon. Spencer Smith whose arrival at Council Bluffs was at about 
the same time as that of the writer, but at a slig^htly earlier age, 
answering an inquiry, says : 

' * Since the receipt of your letter I have been trying to refresh 
my memory of early days, but find little response as to the 
'Mission House' of which you make inquiry. I called on my 
way to lunch today at the library and took a look at the 
picture in Mr. Bloomer's sketch which appears to me about as 
it looked when I first saw it. I know of no picture of the ' Old 
Fort ' as we called it other than the one given by Mr, Bloomer. ' ' 

Mr. Ephraim Huntington, at about the age of seven years, began 
residence as a member of the family of his father — John Huntington, 
— at Kanesville, as the place was then named, in 1850. In a con- 
versation with the writer, in September, 1915, speaking of the old 
blockhouse, he said: 

''I remember it as it appeared to me when a boy and 
until it was demolished. It was originally surrounded with 
a stockade several feet high and constructed of very heavy oak 
timbers. ' ' 

In a communication dated June 13, 1916, referring to the illustra- 
tion above mentioned which had been called to his attention, he said : 

"The picture of the Fort and Mission resembles the build- 
ings, &c., very much as I remember it." 

Reverend Henry De Long, then a boy of twelve or fourteen years, 
accompanied the Mormons from Nauvoo as far as the site of Council 
Bluffs, arriving in July, 1846, and has continued to reside there ever 
since. He is now the "dean of old settlers" in the county. Upon 
request he furnished a very complete description of the "Old Fort'' 
as memory recalls its first appearance to him, to-wit : 

"There were three buildings in the fort. The main building- 
was what we'd call a story and a half, about sixty feet long and 
twenty-four feet wide, running parallel with Broadway. It 
was made of hewed logs and the logs were hewed square so 
they fit right down together. The port holes were made by 
sawing out half of the log and should judge they were about 
eight feet apart. 

"There was a building just west and south of the main 
building, built in the form of a chapel, with a place for a bell 


in the center, I think it was used by the Catholics. This 
chapel was about 24 x 30. 

"There was a small one-story building back of the fort, to 
the east. Don't know what it was used for, but it looked like 
it might have been officer 's quarters. It was about 16 x 20, 

"The roofs were made of clapboards which were smooth and 
of much better appearance than usual. 

"The chapel roof was built four square, running to a center 
containing a cupola. 

"The other roofs were made with gable ends. 

' ' There was no stockade surrounding the fort, ' ' 

Commenting upon the illustration accompanying the Bloomer article, 
to which his attention had been directed after he had written the 
foregoing description, "Uncle Henry", as he is familiarly called by 
intimate friends, said: 

"With the main building I speak of torn down, the picture 
is probably a fair representation of the fort in 1855; but I 
think this picture was drawn by someone from memory and 
is not an exact copy of the buildings as they were. The 
picture shows two buildings and the smaller one is what I 
recollect was probably used for officers' quarters." 

It is presumed, in absence of citations of authority or any sources 
of information by the writers named, that all of the foregoing matter 
quoted is founded upon memory, hearsay, legend and tradition; and 
it is given here for such consideration as may be merited. Official 
data relating to the old blockhouse appears to be meagre and difficult 
of access or discovery at this late date. 

In connection with Mr, J. N, Nicollet's report of his explorations 
made in the Missouri river country in 1838 and 1839 is published a 
map prepared by the War Department, upon which at or near the 
site of the present city of Council Bluffs is shown "Fort Croghan". 
For a time it was assumed by the writer that the old blockhouse and 
Fort Croghan were identical ; but, in a certain sense, tliis was error. 
No name for the old blockhouse appears in any of the official records of 
the War Department nor in those of the Office of Indian Affairs, 
though it is mentioned occasionally in letters from the agents and 
sub-agents. In Mr, Nicollet's report a reference to "Camp Kearney" 
is apparently, but not necessarily, applicable to this old fort, 

P"'ort Croghan was not a blockhouse or fortification ; but merely 
a military cantonment located, originally, near the old Indian farm 


upon which Mr, Davis Hardin resided while and after acting as farmer 
for the Pottawattamies ; and, because of a flood in the Missouri river in 
April, 1843, was removed to the hills. The old blockhouse appears to 
have been used by the troops by whom Fort Croghan was founded, 
and was no doubt considered a part of that fort or cantonment. 

Richard S. Elliott, Pottawattamie sub-agent, in a letter to the 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs (unpublished) dated June 1, 1843, 
said : 

''There are in the block house of the Dragroons some goods 
which were seized in November last, and which yet, as I under- 
stand, await their disposition by the Department." 

Senate Document No. 237, 26th Congress, 2d Session, consists solely 
of a "Eeport intended to illustrate a map of The Hydrographic Basin 
of Upper Mississippi River, made by J. N. Nicollet while in employ 
under the Bureau of the Corps of Topographical Engineers", which 
is the map referred to above. On pages 93 and 94 is the following 
language, to-wit : 

"Assured that every reader will partake of my sentiments 
on this subject, I shall, without further prelude or apology, 
acknowledge the services I have received, in this respect, from 
. . . The Revs. P. J. De Smet and Felix Werreydf, mis- 
sionaries among the Pottawattamies at Camp Kearney, near 
Council Bluffs on the Missouri. . . ." 

On. pages 98 and 99 is found matter pertinent to the subject here 
under treatment, and, although some of it may seem to be irrelevant, 
it is fully quoted because of the general information contained, to-wit : 

''When the course of my observations carried me to the 
regions of the North and Northwest, the stationary barometer 
of St, Louis, to which my portable barometers were referred, 
became too distant for simultaneous observations to be any 
longer comparable. I had foreseen this difficulty, and had 
succeeded in establishing, as soon as needed, two new fixed 
barometer stations, much higher north — the one at St, Peters, 
on the Mississippi: the other at Camp Kearney, near Council 
Bluffs, on the Missouri. At each of these points was a sta- 
tionary barometer, corresponding four or five times a day with 
the barometer at St, Louis, and aft'ording, at the same time, 
for my portable barometers, a reference to one or the other, 
according as my position at any time brought one or the other 

"Nevertheless, as both of these stations are at a great dis- 


tance from St. Louis, whether the length of the journey neces- 
sary for communication between them, or their geographic 
positions and direct distance apart, be considered, it became 
necessary that their differences of level, as respects St. Louis, 
should be determined by the greatest number of observations 
possible. In this view, I deem it fit to introduce here the 
results of these determinations : 

"1. The station at Camp Kearney was occupied by the 
venerable missionaries, Rev. Messrs. De Smet and Werreydt. 
I furnished them with a barometer, well compared with that 
of Dr. Engelman at St. Louis, and with my own, and delivered 
it at their missionary station in good condition. Mr. De Smet, 
with whom I had passed some days of travel on the Missouri, 
soon made himself acquainted with the manner of taking obser- 
vations; and proved it, in furnishing me with a four-months' 
series, made with a care that the most scrupulous examination 
could only confirm, and embracing the period between the 17th 
of May and 17th of September, 1839, — an interval during 
which I was exploring in the Northwest. 

' ' The barometer at St. Louis was situated in a small exposed 
plain ; that at Camp Kearney was placed in the valley of the 
Missouri, which is deep, and often three to five miles wide. 
Using only the noon observations for both, grouping them 20, 
and applying the reduction of the stations to their respective 
levels, the calculations give the following results : 

Station at Camp Kearney, above St. Louis by — 

20 observations at noon in May and June, 1839 596 feet 

20 " " " "June,1839.. 680'' 

20 " " " " June and July, 1839 633 " 

20 ** " " '' July and August, 1839 659 " 

20 *' " " " August, 1839 694 " 

13 ** " " " September, 1839 ...667 '* 

113 " " " " Mean difference in level.... 655 " 
Reduction of St. Louis to Gulf 332 " 

Altitude of Missouri at low water, near Council 
Bluffs, above Gulf of Mexico 1,037 " 

The foregoing matter may be found, also, in House Executive 
Documents, 28th Congress, 2d Session, Vol. 1, No. 52, page 94. 

The name "Camp Kearney" used by Mr. Nicollet probably relates 
to the camp of his exploring party, in the near vicinity of the old 
blockhouse, and was not intended to apply either to the blockhouse 
itself or to any other military encampment proper in the neighbor- 


hood. The missionaries De Smet and Verreydt were at the time in 
occupancy of the blockhouse. 

A letter of inquiry, addressed to the War Department, in which 
reference was made to Mr. Nicollet's report, was returned with en- 
dorsement as follows: 


The Adjutant General's Office 

Washington, January 22, 1916. 

"Respectfully returned to — 
"Mr. Charles H. Babbitt, 

933 Massachusetts Avenue, N. W., 
Washington, D. C. 

' ' Such search of the records of this Department as it has been 
found practicable to make, based on the data submitted, has 
resulted in failure to identify any record of the establishment 
of a Camp Kearny at or near the present city of Council 
Bluffs, Iowa. The records indicate that Captain D. B. Moore, 
with Company C, 1st Dragoons, was sent by Colonel S. W. 
Kearny from Fort Leavenworth to that section in 1837 for 
the purpose of protecting the Pottawattamies, then about to 
move to their new country, and with instructions to throw up 
a block house of one story about 25 feet square, and with 
sufficient loop holes, at such place as Captain Moore might 
deem eligible. The location is more particularly described as 
being above the State Line of Missouri, near the river and 
not far from Belle View. Captain Moore returned to Fort 
Leavenworth early in November, 1837, when he reported to 
Colonel Kearney that he had reached the locality mentionel 
August 4, 1837 ; erected a block-house and departed November 
1, 1837. 

"The records further show that Colonel Kearny himself 
spent about 12 days in that vicinity between April 12 and 24, 
1838, and in that time examined the country above and below 
the Platte and fixed upon a site for a military post. 

"It is further shown by the records that Captain J. H. K. 
Burgwin, 1st Dragoons, with a company of that regiment, was 
stationed near Council Bluffs from about May 31, 1842, to 
about October 6, 1843. He called his post Camp Fenwick, and 
on his recommendation it was named by the War Department 
about November, 1842, Fort Croghan. It appears that this 
post was about 6 miles from 'the Bluff' and at a point that 
was reached by an excessive overflow in the Spring of 1843. 

"Nothing has been found of record to indicate that any of 
the stations or posts mentioned was ever called Camp Kearny 

H. P. McCain, 

The Adjutant General.'' 


A personal examination of the records referred to in the foregoing 
note disclosed the following orders and reports relating to the errand 
of Captain Moore and the erection of a blockhouse, to- wit : 

' ' Order No. 11. Headquarters 1st Dept. West. Division, 

Fort Leavenworth, July 19, 1837. 
"Colonel Kearny will detail a Troop of Dragoons from his 
Regiment for imm.ediate service in the vicinity of the position 
to be occupied by the Pottawattamie Indians opposite to Belle- 
view on the Missouri river. Special instructions will be given 
to the Commanding Officer of the Troop respecting the duties 
to be assigned to it. . . . 

''By order of Brigadier General Atkinson. 

T. S. Alexander, 

A, D. C. & Ast. A.G." 

' ' Headquarters 1st Regiment Dragoons, 

Fort Leavenworth, July 21, 1837. 

"You will, in command of Company 'C,' march to the Potta- 
wattamie country, above the State line of Missouri, and take 
a position in it near the river, and not far from 'Belle View', 
so as to intervene between those Indians and the Sack and others 
as reside above them. 

"As the Pottawattamies are now about to move to their 
New Country your object will be to afford them protection 
from being molested by other Indians. . . . 

"I wish you to throw up a Blockliouse of one story, about 
25 feet square, at such place as you may deem eligible, with a 
sufficient number of loop holes, which will serve as a hospital 
for any sick you may have and as a storehouse for your pro- 
visions. . . . 

S. W. Kearny, 

Colonel 1st Regiment Dragoons. 
Captain D. B. Moore, 

1st Regiment Dragoons." 

"Headquarters 1st Regiment Dragoons, 

Fort Leavenworth, August 5, 1837. 
" ... Company 'C, (66 strong) under Captain Moore, 
1st Dragoons, by order of Brigadier General Atkinson, of the 
19th, left here, on the 22nd \iHo., to take a position in the Potta- 
wattamy Country for the purpose of giving confidence to those 
emigrating Indians and affording them protection (if neces- 
sary) froiri being (iistiirbcd by the Indians above them. The 


service of the company, I think, will not be required after the 
1st of October, at which time I will look for its return. 
S. W. Kearny, 

Colonel 1st Regiment Dragoons. 
General William Clark, 

Superintendent of Indian Affairs, St. Louis." 

"Fort Leavenworth, November 11, 1837. 
"I have the honor to inform you that, in compliance with 
your order of the 21st July, 1837, dated at Forth Leavenworth, 
I took a position in the Pottawattamie Country, with my Com- 
pany ' C ', 1st Dragroons, at a point near Belle- View, on the east 
side of the Missouri river, at which place I erected a Blockhouse 
for the defense of the Pottawattamies while they are moving to 
their new land. I arrived there on the 4th of August and re- 
mained until the 1st of November, 1837, when I broke camp and 
marched to this post in pursuance of your order. 

D. B. Moore, 
Captain 1st Regiment Dragoons. 
Colonel S. W. Kearny, 

Commanding 1st Regiment Dragoons." 

The foregoing shows conclusively that a blockhouse about 25 feet 
square, was constructed, in 1837, in the vicinity of the site of the 
present city of Council Bluffs. It has been found impossible to secure 
equally as positive proof that the blockhouse then erected and the 
''Old Blockhouse at Council Bluffs", the "Old Fort" that Colonel 
Kearny gave to De Smet in 1838, are identical. But, in absence of 
any indication either through hearsay, legend or tradition, that any 
other blockhouse was ever known to exist in that neighborhood, and 
taking all circumstances into consideration, little room for doubt in 
that regard may be reasonably entertained. 

Papers on file in the Indian Office at Washington relating to the 
emigration of the Pottawattamies, reproduced in connection with 
that portion of this booklet entitled "Pottawattamie Indians", prove 
that General Atkinson, commanding the First Department of the 
Western Division of the Army, personally superintended the removal 
of a part of the tribe or nation from the ' ' Platte Purchase ' ' ; that 
he arrived with them on board of the steamboat "Kansas" July 28, 
1837, and landed them at a point on the east (left) bank of the Missouri 
river, about eighteen miles above the mouth of the Platte river and 
there turned them over to the proper agent; that one week later 


Captain Moore arrived for the purpose of protecting them from 
Northern foes, and erected a blockhouse for that purpose, it may 
be presumed that he located it at a convenient place; the fact that 
Billy Caldwell, one of the principal Pottawattamie chiefs, located his 
village precisely upon the spot where the original town from which 
Council Bluffs developed became situated, and that a blockhouse 
actually existed at that place, would appear to be strong circum- 
stantial evidence in support of the presumption that it was the one 
built by Captain Moore. 

In the four- volume book entitled "Life, Letters and Travels of 
Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, S. J., 1808-1873, by Hiram Martin 
Chittenden and Alfred Talbot Richardson", on pages 14 to 16 of 
Volume I, is found the following: 

"In the Spring of 1838 he (De Smet) was sent with Father 
Verrydt and two lay brothers to found a mission among the 
Pottawattamies, a part of whom were located about where the 
city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, now stands. . . . Father 
De Smet left St. Louis by the steamboat Howard May 10, 1838. 
. . . They seem to have first occupied an abandoned fort 
turned over to them by Colonel S. W. Kearney; but Father 
De Smet says that they also erected a small house. The mission 
was named St. Joseph, although it has been more frequently 
referred to as St. Mary. It was located within the present 
limits of Council Bluffs, Iowa. . . . The Pottawattamie 
mission at Council Bluffs is of particular interest in this narra- 
tive, not so much for results accomplished, as because it reveals 
at this early date the full character of Father De Smet as an 
Indian missionary. It was from here that he began that famous 
series of letters which have made his name well known through- 
out the world. 

In one of the first of these letters, written in July, 1838, Father 
De Smet said: 

"We arrived among the Pottawattamies on the afternoon of 
May 31st. Nearly 2,000 savages, in their finest rigs and care- 
fully painted in all sorts of patterns, were awaiting the boat 
at the landing. I had not seen so imposing a sight nor such 
fine looking Indians in America; the lowas, the Sauks and 
Otocs arc beggars compared to these. Father Verreydt and 
brother Maxell i went at onc(^ to the camj) of the half breed 
chief, Mr. Caldwell, four miles from the river (page 157.) 


"The chief has given us possession of three cabins, and we 
have changed the fort which Colonel Kearney has given us into 
a church. On the day of Corpus Christi I put a cross on the 
roof, and while I climbed the ladder to put it into place, and 
my flag floated from a hole in my breeches, Father Felix 
(Verreydt) beheld the devil clap his tail between his legs and 
take flight over the big hills." (Page 158.) 

In a letter dated at the "Nation of the Pottawattamies, July 20, 
1838," Father De Smet said: 

"We have a fine little chapel, twenty-four feet square, sur- 
mounted by a little belfry ; four poor little cabins beside, made 
of rough logs; they are fourteen feet each way, with roofs of 
rude rafters, which protect us from neither rain nor hail, and 
still less from snow of winter." (Page 168.) 

In the spring of 1839 De Smet visited the Sioux Indians near the 
mouth of the Big Sioux river, in an effort to preserve peace between 
them and the Pottawattamies, and, on the steamboat he met Mr. 
Nicollet. His account of the meeting is summarized as follows : 

"On the 29th of April I went on board the American Com- 
pany's steamboat, which makes every year the voyage from 
St. Louis to the Yellowstone river. ... To my great joy 
I found on board the celebrated Nicollet, whom I had had the 
honor of knowing for a long time. ... At present he is 
making a scientific excursion upon the upper Missouri, as he 
did last year to the sources of the Mississippi and its tribu- 
taries. . . . He made me a present of several instruments, 
thermometers, barometers, compass, etc., to take observations 
during the summer, to aid those he was making in the upper 
country. (Pages 179-80.) 

On pages 183 and 184 is printed a letter from Father De Smet, 
under date "Pottawattamie Nation, St. Joseph (Mission), July 
1838", but in a foot note the authors say the year should be 1839. 
The following extract is made from that letter, viz. : 

"Our Superior sent us from St, Louis, goods to the amount 
of $500, in ornaments for the church, a tabernacle, a bell, and 
provisions and clothes for a year. I had been for a long time 
without shoes, and from Easter we were destitute of supplies. 
All of the Pottawattamie nation were suffering from scarcity, 
having only acorns and a few wild roots for their whole stock 
of food. At last, about the 20th of April, they announced to 


US that the much-desired boat was approaching. Already we 
saw it from the highest of our hills. I procured, without delay, 
two carts to go for our baggage. I reached there in time to 
witness a very sad sight. The vessel had hit a sawyer, was 
pierced, and rapidly sinking in the waves. The confusion that 
reigned in the boat was great, but happily no lives were lost. 
The total damage was valued at $40,000. All the provisions 
forwarded by the government to the savages were on board 
of her. Of our effects, four articles were saved; a plough, a 
saw, a pair of boots and some wine. Providence was still favor- 
able to us. With the help of the plough, we were enabled to 
plant a large field of corn ; it was the season for furrowing. 
We used the saw to build a better house and enlarge our 
church, already too small." 

A thorough search of official reports and various other sources has 
failed to discover any account, other than the above, of the wrecking 
of a steamboat at or near the site indicated. 

Father De Smet's service at this mission ceased in the fall of 1839, 
when he was transferred to the far Northwest. On his return to the 
eastern country, late in 1840, he visited the old place, arriving about 
November 24th. Of that visit he says : 

' ' The very night of our arrival among our Fathers at Council 
Bluffs, the river closed. It would be vain for me to attempt 
to tell what I felt at finding myself once more amidst our 
brothers, after having travelled 2,000 Flemish leagues, in the 
midst of the greatest dangers and across the territories of the 
most barbarous nations. I had, however, the grief of observing 
the ravages which unprincipled men, liquor sellers, had caused 
in this budding mission ; drunkenness, with the invasion of the 
Sioux on the other hand, had finally dispersed my poor savages. 
While awaiting a more favorable turn of events, the good 
Fathers Verreydt and (Christian) Hoeken busy themselves 
with the cares of their holy ministry among the fifty families 
that have had the courage to resist these two enemies." (Page 

The writer, wishing to ascertain if possible up to what period the 
mission at Council Bluff's was maintained, and, findng no authentic 
evidence in that respect, addressed a letter of inquiry to the St. Louis 
University regarding the abandonment and final closing of the St. 
Joseph or St. Mary Mission among the Pottawattaraies, to which reply 
was received, as follows: 


"Mo. Prov. S. J., St. Louis, May 16, 1916. 
''Mr. Chas. H. Babbitt, 

Washington, D. C. 
"Dear Sir: 

"In answer to your inquiry relative to the Jesuit Pottawat- 
tamie Mission at Council Bluffs, I am able to inform you that 
the last resident missionary departed from the place in July 
or Au^st, 1841. The last entry in the baptismal register of 
the mission, bears date July 17, 1841. 

I am very" sincerely yours, 

G. J. Garraghan, S. J." 

The "Old Fort" or "Mission House", with other buildings used 
for mission purposes, stood upon the West half of the Southwest 
quarter of Section 30, Township 75 North, of Range 43 West, Fifth 
Principal Meridian; and, upon its inclusion in the application for 
entry of the townsite of Council Bluffs, that tract became a bone of 
contention between Mrs. S. T. Carey and the Catholic Church. In 
the record of evidence relating to the long-drawn-out controversy 
that ensued (Case No. 139, Pottawattamie file. No. 40-L) before the 
Indian Office and Land Department, is an affidavit made by Stutely 
E. Wicks, wherein he alleged : 

" ... That, about the year 1837 two Catholic priests, 
named Veright and De Smith, took possession of the buildings 
and a small field adjacent thereto and continued to occupy the 
same until some time in 1842. . . ." 

It will be observed that Mr. Wicks was mistaken, both as to the date 
when the mission was established and when it was abandoned. 

The foregoing sets out all that the writer has been able to discover, 
relating to the "Old Blockhouse at Council Bluffs", by a most 
thorough search of governmental records and examination of numer- 
ous other sources of information ; together with some things, true and 
otherwise, that have been written and published, as well as the memory 
pictures of the establishment retained by himself and others still living 
who saw it at an early day. 

It would appear, from the record evidence, conclusive and con- 
vincing in character, that all that ever existed of the "Old Fort" 
was the simple little blockhouse, twenty-four feet square, erected by 
Captain D. B. Moore in 1837. That the "Old Mission" consisted of 
that building, to which addition was made by the missionaries in 
1839 : the little cabins given to the Fathers bv Chief Billv Caldwell in 


1838, and the house erected by the missionaries at the same time that 
enlargement of the church was made, as described by Father De Smet. 

The illustration which accompanied the article of Mr. Bloomer, in 
Annals of Iowa, later used in Gue's History of Iowa, is reproduced 
herein to the end that the reader may more readily understand the 
comment of the writer in relation thereto. 

From personal observation, almost daily, for a period of fully 
twenty years, the writer knows, of his own knowledge, that there was 
never a road up the nose of the promontory upon which the old build- 
ing stood. He believes that it would have been impossible to construct 
there such a road as that depicted in the illustration and still have 
left on the little plateau at the top sufficient space for such buildings 
as there portrayed. Even had the construction of such roadway been 
practicable, there would have been no necessity for so doing, because 
the plateau was easily accessible from both east and west by gentle 
inclines having ample space for roadways. See supposititious picture 
of the old blockhouse, showing topography as remembered by the 

Captain Moore's command consisted of only sixty-six persons; it 
arrived at the Pottawattamie country August 4, and departed thence 
November 1, 1837. Such force could not, within such period, have 
constructed such works as Mr. Simons' memory or imagination de- 
picted when he made the drawing that was used in preparing the 

It would be folly to discuss or attempt to explain the differences 
between the several memory pictures of the "Old Fort" as set out 
by persons who have been heard, and the facts as disclosed by official 
records and other evidence. It is deemed sufficient to say that, 
memory, especially that extending back to childhood days, is fre- 
quently at fault — "distance lends enchantment to the view" — and one 
relying merely upon memory will find, upon investigation, that she 
is frequently an unfaithful painter who magnifies, softens and gilds 
the images which she presents, misleading the individual as to facts 
and appearances with which one may for years have believed oneself 
thoroughly fjimiliar. "Things arc not what they seem." 



ii4 s^'iil 




(Supposititious Picture) 

By this picture attempt is made to depict the old blockhouse as it 
probably appeared when completed by Captain D. B. Moore in 1837, 
together with the blunt nose of bluff whereon it stood. No portholes 
are shown because there was no reason why any should have been 
originally provided. United States troops did not ordinarily employ 
cannon in the control of the Indians at that early day, and it is not 
probable that the same were furnished the Pottawattamies for their 
protection. The building was a simple hewn-log structure, twenty- 
four feet square, without openings on the north and west sides except 
loopholes for small-arms fire. After it came into the possession of 
the Jesuit missionaries small windows were cut in those sides which 
were afterward taken by some to have been portholes for cannon fire. 
The folly of such belief is apparent upon consideration of the size and 
character of the building, and what would probably have happened 
to the occupants had a large gun been fired from the inside. No 
frontier blockhouse, even at the largest of the government military 
posts, appears to have been constructed with a view to firing cannon 
from within. When cannon were provided for such posts they were 
usually mounted outside the buildings in bastions especially designed 
for the purpose. 


May 31, 1842, Captain John H. K. Burgwin, under orders from the 
War Department established a military cantonment, for the protection 
of the Pottawattamie Indians against threatened attack by the Sioux, 
the garrison consisting of one company of dragoons. 

July 1, 1842, the Captain reported to the Adjutant General of the 
Army, from "Camp Fenwick, on the Missouri river near Council 
Bluffs", that he had established encampment as above set forth. 

October 7, 1842, in connection with report as to condition of his 
command and post. Captain Burgwin suggested the substitution of 
the name ' ' Fort Croghan ' ' for the station in lieu of ' ' Camp Fenwick. ' ' 

November 8, 1842, Brigadier General R. Jones, Adjutant General, 
approved the suggestion of Captain Burgwin, and thereafter the 
cantonment was known as "Fort Croghan", being so indicated on a 
map published by the War Department in 1843' in connection with the 
report of the explorations made by J. N. Nicollet and Lieutenant John 
C. Fremont, 1838-9. 

When it became definitely determined, against earnest protest by 
Captain Burgwin, that the post should be maintained during the 
ensuing winter, due preparation was made by the erection of log 
quarters for the officers and men and suitable protection for the 
animals; the tents theretofore used were stored, and the cantonment 
assumed a more permanent appearance. 

April 17, 1843, from "Fort Croghan, I. T." Captain Burgwin 
reported the greatest rise in the Missouri river known within seven- 
teen years; that his camp was threatened by the flood and he had 
prepared for removal "to the Bluffs, which are about six miles from 

August 15, 1843, still using the "Fort Croghan" heading, the 
Captain reported the original camp yet surrounded by water ; that it 
would probably not be fit for future use ; that troops were no longer 
needed in the locality, and requested relief from further duty there. 
His request was granted and the command returned to Fort Leaven- 
worth, from which place the Captain submitted report, dated October 
13, 1843, saying that his command had just arrived and that Fort 
Croghan was abandoned on the 6th of that month. 

The foregoing brief sketch of "Fort Croghan" is compiled from 


unpublished orders, reports and letters in the files of the office of the 
Adjutant General, War Department, Washington. The use of the 
date line ''Fort Croghan, I. T." by Captain Burgwin clearly fixes 
the site of the cantonment on the east (left) bank of the Missouri 
river. In his "American Fur Trade of the Far West" (Vol. 3, page 
950), General Hiram Martin Chittenden says that: "Fort Croghan 
stood a little above the Union Pacific bridge in Omaha;" but he is 
mistaken, as Captain Burgwin's report dated April 17, 1843, clearly 

The fact that Captain Burgwin continued to use the headline ' ' Fort 
Croghan" after the removal of the command to the highlands, in- 
dicates that the name applied to the territory under his jurisdiction 
rather than to the cantonment itself or to its precise site. 

The precise plot of ground upon which the original location of 
"Camp Fenwick" and "Fort Croghan" was made, or whether the 
log structures of 1843 were erected upon that identical spot, is not 
known and may never be positively determined ; nor is there attainable 
evidence to show conclusively to what place Captain Burgwin re- 
ferred when he reported: 

"I commenced yesterday morning moving the public prop- 
erty to the Bluffs which are about six miles from me" — 

the point to which the troops removed and took position that was 
maintained during the remainder of their stay in the vicinity. No 
records exist containing specific descriptions of these sites or either 
of them. 

Probably the most circumstantial reference to and description of 
the two points occupied by Captain Burgwin as "Fort Croghan" here- 
tofore published, is contained in an article that appeared in the 
Annals of Iowa (3d Series, Volume 3, page 471), which is here re- 
produced in full, viz. : 

"P^'oRT Croghan. — In April, 1842, while the Pottawattamie 
Indians were located in what is now the eastern part of Potta- 
wattamie County, it was thought necessary to send up the 
Missouri river a detachment of troops for their protection. 
Captain John II. K. Burj^'win therefore arrived on a steamer 
from Fort Leavenwortii, with a company of United States 
troops, and established a post on the edge of the timber at 
Section 10, near the present southwest corner of the city of 
Council Bluffs. Tliis he first named 'Camp Fenwick', but 


afterwards changed it to 'Fort Croghan'. There has been 
some dispute about the location, but 'there is certain evidence', 
says Hon. D. C. Bloomer, 'that it stood as mentioned'. The 
troops staid there during the remainder of 1842, and until the 
spring of 1843, when a great flood covered the Missouri 
Bottoms compelling the command to remove to a temporary 
location on the western side of Little Mosquito Creek, on the 
high grounds later occupied by Mr. J. P. Casady for farming 
purposes. Here they remained until the water, which covered 
the valley, subsided, when they returned to the fort. In Sep- 
tember, following, the presence of the troops being no longer 
necessary for the protection of the Indians, the company, still 
under the command of Capt. Burgwin, returned to Ft. Leaven- 
worth, and 'Fort Croghan' was abandoned, never again to 
be occupied. For the above information we are indebted to 
Hon. D. C. Bloomer, of Council Bluffs." 

As stated elsewhere in this work the writer resided at Council 
Bluffs from 1853 to 1874, and was very familiar with the surrounding 
country, having gunned for ducks, prairie chickens, turkeys and 
other game, pretty much all "round about there", and, upon reading 
the foregoing article, a few months ago, he was surprised by some of 
the statements therein contained ; doubted that the original encamp- 
ment of Captain Burgwin was located upon "Section 10" and knew 
that J. P. Casady 's farm was not near the Little Mosquito creek, but 
on Pony creek, some three miles south and one mile east of the mouth 
of the Little Mosquito. So, contemplating the writing of this paper, 
he began investigating. 

Mr. Edgar R. Harlan, Curator of the Historical Department of 
Iowa, at Des Moines, under the direction of whom Annals of Iowa is 
now published, has furnished copies of letters sent to Hon. Charles 
Aldrich, founder of the Historical Department of Iowa, by Mr. 
Bloomer, including that "certain evidence" referred to in the article 
quoted above. There are two letters from Mr. Bloomer dated, re- 
spectively, November 24 and 25, 1896, the latter being in correction 
of a clerical error in and elaborative of the former. Both are here 
quoted to the end that the entire matter may be fairly placed before 

it'll P T*PflHPT** 

"Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nov. 24, 1896. 
"Hon. Charles Aldrich, 

Des Moines, Iowa. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I return the correspondence relative to Fort Croghan and 
its occupancy by U. S. troops in 1842-3. 


"The question as to the actual location of Camp Fenwick, 
changed to Fort Croghan, has elicited a good deal of contro- 
versy among the people in this section. I have spent a good deal 
of time and made some journeys in order to settle it in my own 
mind. Some claim that it was on the west side of the river, 
up in the \'icinity of Old Fort Atkinson, later known as Fort 
Calhoun. Others claim that it was on the east side of the 
river, on the wide bottom, a few miles south of the present 
site of the modern Council Bluffs. My great object was to find 
some one who then resided here, and who could from personal 
recollections settle the question. And such a person I have at 
last found in Mr. Richard S. Hardin, an old gentleman, son of 
Indian agent Hardin, who came here with the Pottawattamie 
Indians in 1838, and who now resides at Nodaway Station in 
Missouri. In a letter written to me on the 21st of November, 
1896, he says: 

' ' ' The old Fort you wish to know about was built in '42, and 
vacated in the spring of '43, on account of high water. It was 
northwest of my old farm 3^ of a mile, in the edge of the 
timber on the bottom. When they left it they stuck their tents 
in the hollow near where Judge Casady 's house stands. If there 
is anything I can give you light on, let me know. I think I 
will be in Council Bluffs in the spring, and if you will get a 
reporter, I will answer any questions you may wish to ask, as 
I think I am the only man living now that can'. 

"This statement is reliable and reallj^ settles the question. 
It corresponds perfectly with the letter of Capt. Burgwin, '43, 
page 6, in which he stated that his cantonment 'was flooded 
and that he had commenced removing the public property to 
the Bluffs, which are about six miles from me'. True, his first 
letter was written from 'Camp Fenwick near Council Bluffs' 
evidently referring to the Council Bluffs of the olden time, 
but that point was less than twenty miles distant, and was the 
name then applied to all this immediate region. I may add that 
A. I). Jones, now of Omaha, who in early days resided in 
Council Bluffs and made the first survey of the town in 1852, 
insists that 'Camp Fenwick — Fort Croghan' was on the east 
side of the river not far from the southwest corner of the 
present corporate limits of the city of Council Bluffs. It was 
very near, almost the middle of, the then home of the Potta- 
wattamies — the very Indians Captain Burgwin was sent here 
to protect, although as it turned out, no protection was required. 

"This Fort Croghan had no connection in any way with the 
military buildings, the 'Old Block House in Council Bluff's' at 
or near the Bryant Springs. That had been built by U. S. 
troops in 1839. They seem to have left and Capt. Burgwin's 
Company was probably sent to take their place. Instead, how- 


ever, of going to the old site, they camped on the bottom near 
the timber, three or four miles distant in a southwesterly direc- 
tion from it. Possibly, when I have the interview with Mr. 
Hardin, this point will also be explained more fully. 

Very truly, 

T>. C. Bloomer." 

"Council Bluffs, Nov. 25, 1896. 
"Mr. Charles Aldrich. 

' ' Dear Sir : Referring to my letter of yesterday in relation 
to the location of Camp Fenwick — Fort Croghan, I would state 
that I have just received a letter from Mr. Hardin in which 
he states that the fort instead of being 3 and 14 miles northwest 
from his old farm, that it was only % of a mile from it. I 
suspected that this was the fact, and this correction enables us 
to exactly locate the spot. Mr. Hardin's old farm was in the 
Ei/s of the SE14 of Section 15-74-44, and % of a mile from it 
takes us to the £1/2 of Section 10 in the same township and 
range, and through about the center of this section the line of 
timber passed. That was the identical spot where the old fort 
stood. And now I remember that when I first came to the 
county 41 years ago, there was right there the remains of 
buildings of some kind, erected in former years. It turns out 
now that they had been erected by the XJ. S. troops under 
Capt. Burgwin in the first instance, and perhaps reconstructed 
by the Mormons. 

Yours very truly, 

D. C. Bloomer. 

"P. S. — I enclose plat of Tp. 74-44, which shows the loca- 

In that portion of this work relating to the Pottawattamie Indians 
it is clearly shown that they arrived at or near the present site of 
the city of Council Bluffs July 28, 1837 ; that the blockhouse was built 
at that time; that Davis Hardin (father of R, S. Hardin) was not 
agent for those Indians; that the farm entered by R. S. Hardin in 
1854, — undoubtedly the place mentioned by him as * * my old farm ' ', — 
consisted of Lot 1 (W1/2SW1/4) Sec. 14, and E1/2SE14 Sec. 15, in the 
township indicated by Mr. Bloomer. On this tract the plat of the 
United States survey made in 1852 shows three houses, of which two 
are on the lot 4. It was in one of the latter, according to the writer's 
recollection, wherein Mr. Hardin resided, about one mile from the old 
steamboat landing as indicated by the plat of survey. 


On the SI/2NE14 Sec. 15 of said township appears the village of 
''Council Point", immediately north of and contiguous to the western 
part of the Hardin farm, and almost exactly three-quarters of a mile 
from R. S. Hardin's dwelling. In the belief of the writer the site of 
Council Point, Camp Fenwick or Fort Croghan, was identical. The 
place was probably renamed because of the fact that it was there that 
the Pottawattamie Indians of the Iowa region met the Commissioners 
of the United States June 5, 1846, and signed the treaty ceding their 
lands, which had actually been negotiated at Washington between 
the head men of the nation and government officials at a time previous. 
The buildings erected by Captain Burgwin 's command in 1842 afforded 
facilities for such transaction not existing at any other place near by. 

It is impossible to secure conclusive evidence to support these as- 
sumptions; but they do no violence to Mr. Hardin's testimony as 
furnished by Mr. Bloomer. No point in section ten, Mr. Bloomer's 
location of Camp Fenwick, could have been reached by traveling only 
three-quarters of a mile northwest from Mr. Hardin's farm house. 
The plat of government survey shows only one house on Section 10, 
and none other is mentioned in the field notes of the survey as being 
on said section. 

When the Mormons reached that locality, June, 1846, they found 
the little village of Council Point already named, and it was there 
that their High Council was organized Julj^ 21, by which was accepted 
the name ' ' Miller 's Hollow ' ' that had attached to the settlement made 
by the Saints on the site of the present city of Council Bluffs. 

Mr. A. D. Jones, who resided at Council Bluffs for some time after 
the advent of the writer in that vicinity and was well known to him, 
has been quoted as supporting the claim that Fort Croghan was near 
the original site mentioned in the article quoted from Annals of Iowa ; 
it being said that he made a survey of the city in 1852, and is therefore 
an authority. If he made survey of any part of the city his work 
was private and not public in character. In a letter dated May 9, 1916, 
the Council Bluffs City Engineer says: 

"There is no evidence in my office to indicate that a survey 
of the town was made by A. D. Jones prior to the survey made 
by Tostcvin". (1854.) 

Judgo (J. P.) Casady never owned, resided upon or cultivated any 
farm near the site mentioned in the quoted article other than that 


embracing the SEi^SEii Sec. 9; SWI/4SW14, E1/2SW14 Sec. 10; 
NEi^NWii, WVsNWi^ Sec. 15, and EVgNEi^ Sec. 16, T. 74 N., 
R. 43 W. Six miles due east and across Mosquito creek from the Ft. 
Croghan site mentioned in the quoted article, and about two miles 
back of the first bluffs skirting the Missouri river bottom. In 1843 
that would have been an inaccessible and undesirable site for a military- 
encampment dependent upon steamboat transportation for its supplies. 
The boat landing was more than five miles, air line, from such site, 
and no practicable route between the points could have been less than 
eight miles. Mr. Hardin could not have intended to designate the 
Casady farm as the site where the troops "stuck their tents". 

Judge Casady owned and resided for some years in a house in 
Council Bluffs, near the mouth of what was known in early days as 
"Duck Hollow", only a short distance from the "Old Block House", 
It was one of the most prominent houses of that time in the city. Just 
to the east of it, and immediately north from the old blockhouse, was 
a broad, almost level plateau, an ideal spot for a military camp such 
as required by Captain Burgwin's command, and, notwithstanding 
Mr. Bloomer's positive assertion that the blockhouse and Fort Croghan 
had "no connection in any way", it very convincingly appears from 
unpublished letters of the Pottawattamie sub-agent, written in 1842 
and 1843, that the dragoons at that time used the blockhouse for 
storage purposes. (See Mr. Elliott's letter of June 1, 1843, quoted 
in connection with "Pottawattamie Indians" and "Old Blockhouse", 
elsewhere in this work.) 

It is the belief of the writer that Captain Burgwin and his men, 
when forced to retire from the bottom, made their encampment upon 
the plateau described in the preceding paragraph, and that it was the 
site referred to in the language quoted in Mr. Bloomer's letter to Mr. 
Aldrich : 

"When they left it they stuck their tents in the hollow near 
where Judge Casady 's house stands". 

This opinion is corroborated by an unpublished letter from Sub- Agent 
Elliott, dated June 1, 1843, quoted in the article herein relating to 
"The Old Blockhouse". True, this site was about five miles from 
the boat landing, but it was connected therewith by the best and 
probably only real road in the vicinity at the time, and was at the 
site of the Caldwell village, then existing, and of the De Smet mission 


abandoned about two years before. Captain Burgwin who had been 
acting ad interim Sub-Agent for the Pottawattamies, appears to have 
turned over the agency effects to Sub-Agent Elliott at that point 
June 1, 1843. 

Captain Burgwin evidently overestimated the distance between Fort 
Croghan and the bluffs, as there is no point in the Missouri river 
bottom, above the boat landing as indicated by government survey, in 
that vicinity where the air-line distance between river and bluffs is 
six miles. The early settlers made the same error, calling it six miles 
from Kanesville to the boat landing, whereas it is little more than four 

There is no intention to impugn Mr. Bloomer's good faith, nor to 
question his veracity, bj^ what has been said here ; but simply to differ 
from some of his inferences, assumptions and conclusions, and to in- 
dicate the reasons for such differences. The writer knew Mr. Bloomer 
well and knows him to have been a conscientious man, but doubts the 
correctness of his findings upon the evidence considered by him, taken 
in connection with his knowledge of the locality and the subjects of 
which he was writing. 

On whatever particular sites the "Camp Fenwick" and "Fort 
Croghan" of Captain Burgwin may have stood, in the vicinity of 
Council Bluffs, there is ample evidence that neither was in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the Council Bluff of Lewis and Clark, nor in any 
manner connected with Fort Atkinson which was located near the 
latter. It has been said that there was once a "Fort Croghan" on 
or near the site of the latter place ; but there appears to be no record 
evidence to sustain such allegation. Mr. A. D. Jones, at the time 
Secretary of the Old Settlers' Association of Omaha, addressed a 
letter of inquiry to Father De Smet, containing several interrogations, 
to which the eminent missionary, writing from "St. Louis University, 
December 26, 1867", made separate replies, in part as follows: 

"To the best of my knowledge, and assisted by Captain 
Joseph La Barge, the old explorer of the Missouri river, I will 
here answer your various questions: 

"First, 'Where was old Fort Calhoun located?' 

"Fort Calhoun was never located; it took the name of Fort 
Atkinson, which wjus built on the very spot where the council 
was h(!ld by L(;wis and ('lark, and was the higliest and first 
military post above the mouth of the Nebraska (Platte) river. 

"Second, 'Where was old Fort Croghan?' 


"After the evacuation of Fort Atkinson or Calhoun, either 
in 1827 or 1828, or thereabouts, the troops came down and 
made winter quarters on Cow Island — Captain La Barge states 
it was called Camp Croghan. The next spring the flood dis- 
turbed the soldiers and they came down and established Fort 
Leavenworth. Colonel Leavenworth was commandant at the 
breaking up of Fort Atkinson. (See pages 1533-34-35, Chit- 
tenden and Richardson's Life, Letters and Travels of Father 
De Smet, Volume 4, where the letter above quoted is credited 
to Nebraska Historical Society's Report.) 

"Third, 'There is an earthen remain of fortifications on the 
east bank of Omaha ; do you know who built it ? ' 

"The remains alluded to must be the site of the old trading 
post of Mr. Heart. When it was in existence the Missouri river 
ran up to the trading post. In 1832 the river left it, and since 
that time it goes by the name of 'Heart's Cut-Off', leaving a 
large lake above Council Bluffs city." 

Assuming this last information to be correct, a starting point is 
established from which, with other existing evidence, a fairly good 
inference may be derived respecting the location to w^hich Captain 
Burgwin removed the government property and his command upon 
the occasion of the flood in the spring of 1843. 

The log of the steamboat "Omega", on a voyage made in 1843, con- 
tains the following entries : 

' ' May 9, Tuesday. Passed Trudeau Island, Five Barrels Island, 
la Calumet, L'Oeil de fer. . . . Went on to L 'Issue, 
where I put off freight for the sutler and for Captain Burg- 
win. Set out at 7 P. M. and camped above the bad sandbar, 
near the marsh at Hart's cut-off at 9 P. M. 
"May 10, Wednesday. We progressed finely as far as Hart's 
Bluffs (cotes a Hart), where at 7 A. M., we were summoned 
by an officer and four dragoons to land. I received a polite 
note from Captain Burgwin informing me that it was his 
duty to make an inspection of the boat. We put ourselves 
to work immediately^ while Mr. Audubon goes to call upon 
the Captain. They return in about two hours. . . ." 
(See Chittenden's American Fur Trade of the Far West, 
Vol. 3, page 988; also Chittenden's History of Early Navi- 
gation on the Missouri river. Life and Adventures of Joseph 
La Barge, Vol. 1, pages 143-144.) 

The following extract is from the work last mentioned, and is a part 
of a very circumstantial account of the inspection of the boat, viz. : 


* * On the occasion of the voyage of 1843 the agent at Bellevue 
happened to be absent from his station when the boat arrived. 
Elated at this unexpected good fortune, Captain Sire lost no 
time in putting off the freight destined for this point and in 
getting on his way. He pursued his voyage until nine o'clock 
that evening, and doubtless felicitated himself that he was out 
of danger. But it appears that the agent had delegated the 
function of inspector during his absence to the commander of 
the United States troops in the vicinity. The boat left her 
mooring at daylight next morning, but had scarcely gotten 
under way when a couple of rifle shots were fired across her 
bow. She brought to at once and made for the shore. There 
Captain Sire found a lieutenant in charge of a few dragoons, 
who had come from his camp four miles distant. The young 
officer came on board and presented to Captain Sire a polite 
note from Captain Burgwin, commander of the camp, stating 
that his orders required him to inspect the boat before letting 
her proceed. 

' ' This was like a dash of cold water to the buoyant spirits of 
Captain Sire, and none the less so to Audubon, to whom, as well 
as the company, the loss of the liquid portion of the cargo 
would have been irreparable. The naturalist had a permit 
from the government to carry with him a quantity of liquor 
for the use of himself and party, and upon showing his cre- 
dentials to the young officer he was, to use his own words, 'im- 
mediately settled comfortably '. But in the moment of his good 
fortune he did not forget his companions who were not yet 
'settled comfortably'. He understood that time was required 
to prepare for the approaching function, and he could at least 
help to secure this time by delaying inspection as long as 
possible. He accordingly expressed a desire to visit the camp, 
and the lieutenant detailed a dragoon to accompany him. The 
great naturalist rode /owr miles to call upon an obscure army 
officer whom he knew he could see in a short time by waiting 
at the boat. . . . " 

The Audubon referred to in the foregoing excerpts was the well- 
known and justly celebrated naturalist John James Audubon, and 
his own story of this occurrence, more interesting for the evidence and 
information it contains than because of the importance of the trans- 
action above mentioned, is as follows : 

"May 9, Tuesday. Another fine day. After running until 
eleven o'clock we stopped to cut wood. . . . This afternoon 
we reached B<dk>vue where resides the brother of Mr. Sarpy 
of St. Louis, as well as the Indian Agent, or as he might be 
more appropriately called, the Custom House officer. Neither 
were at home, both away on the Platte river, about 300 miles 


off. . . . We landed some cargo for the establishment. 
. . . The store is no great affair, and yet I am told that they 
drive a good trade with the Indians on the Platte river, and 
others on this side of the Missouri. We unloaded some freight 
and pushed off. . . . We soon reached the post of Fort 
Croghan, so called after my old friend of that name with whom 
I hunted Raccoons on his father's plantation in Kentucky some 
thirty-eight years ago, and whose father and mine were well 
acquainted, and fought together in conjunction with Washing- 
ton and Lafayette during the Revolutionary War, against 
'Merrie England'. Here we found only a few soldiers, dra- 
goons; their camp and officers having been forced to move 
across the prairie to the bluffs, five miles. After we had put 
out some freight for the sutler, we proceeded on until we 
stopped for the night a few miles above, on the same side of 
the river. The soldiers assured us that their parade ground and 
so-called barracks, had been four feet under water, and we 
saw fair and sufficient evidence of this. . . . We landed 
for the night under trees covered by muddy deposits from the 
great overflow of this season. I slept soundly, and have this 
morning. May 10, written this. 

''May 10, Wednesday. The morning was fine, and we were 
under way at daylight, but a party of dragoons, headed by a 
lieutenant, had left the camp four miles distcmt from our 
anchorage at the same time, and reached the shore before we 
proceeded far; they fired a couple of shots ahead of us, and 
we brought to at once. The young officer came on board, and 
presented a letter from his commander. Captain Burgwin, from 
which we found that we had to have our cargo examined. Our 
captain was glad of it, and so were we all ; for, finding that it 
would take several hours, we at once made ready to go ashore. 
I showed my credentials and orders from the Government, 
Major Mitchell of St. Louis, etc., and I was therefore imme- 
diately settled comfortably. I desired to go to see the com- 
manding officer, and the lieutenant very politely sent us there 
on horseback, guided by an old dragoon of considerable re- 
spectability. I was mounted on a young white horse, Spanish 
saddle with holsters, and we proceeded across the prairie to- 
wards the Bluffs and the camp. My guide was anxious to take 
a short cut, and took me across several bayous, one of which 
was really up to the saddle ; but we crossed that, and coming to 
another we found it so miry, that his horse wheeled after two 
or three steps, whilst I was looking at him before starting 
myself ; for you all well know that an old traveler is, and must 
be prudent. We had now to retrace our steps till we reached 
the very tracks that the squad sent after us in the morning had 
taken, and at last we reached the foot of the Bluffs, when my 


guide asked me if I 'could ride at a gallop', to which not 
answering him, but starting at once at a round run, I neatly 
passed him ere his horse was well at the pace ; on we went, and 
in a few minutes we entered a beautiful dell or valley, and 
were in sight of the encampment. We reached this in a trice, 
and rode between two lines of pitched tents to one at the end, 
where I dismounted, and met Captain Burgwin, a young man 
brought up at West Point, with whom I was on excellent and 
friendly terms in less time than it has taken me to write this 
account of our meeting. I showed him my credentials, at 
which he smiled, and politely assured me that I was too well 
known throughout the country to need any letters. While 
seated in front of his tent, I heard the note of a bird new to me, 
and as it proceeded from a tree above our heads, I looked up 
and saw the first Yellow-headed Troupial that ever came across 
my own migrations. . . . The Captain and the doctor, 
Madison by name, returned with us to the boat. . . . The 
officers came on board and we treated them as hospitably as 
we could; they ate lunch with us, and are themselves almost 
destitute of provisions. . . . The Sioux Indians are great 
enemies to the Pottawattamies, and very frequently kill several 
of the latter in their predatory excursions against them. This 
kind of warfare has rendered the Pottawattamies very cowardly, 
which Ls quite a remarkable change from their previous valor 
and daring. . . . We left our anchorage (which means 
tied to the shore) at twelve o'clock, and about sunset we did 
pass the real Council Bluff. Here, however, the bed of the 
river is utterly changed, you may yet see that which is called 
the Old Missouri. The Bluffs stand, truly speaking, on a 
beautiful bank about forty feet above the waters and run off 
on a rich prairie, to the hills in the background to a gentle 
slope, that renders the whole place a fine and very remarkable 
spot. . . ." (See Audubon and His Journals, by Maria R. 
Audubon, with Zoological and Other Notes, by Elliott Coues, 
Volume 1, pages 477 to 482.) 

At the time referred to in the foregoing extracts, from the lower 
end (or mouth) of the then known "Hart's Cut-off"; that is from 
the western end of the lake formed by that change in location, the 
Missouri river flowed in a northwesterly and westerly course through 
"Cutoff Lake", shown upon recent maps, thence southerly, about as 
is now does, near the foot of the bluff where stands the city of Omaha, 
except that at about the site of Soutli Omaha it bore further west, 
sweeping against the bluff; thence, by a broad curve, southward and 
ea.sterly, and then Ix^aiing to the north and east, it ^Kissed on the 


eastern side of the Hardin farm and village of Council Point ; thence, 
through what is now "Lake Manawa", turning to the east and south, 
bore southwesterly beyond Trader's Point (Point aux Poulos). So, 
the Hardin farm and Council Point were within what was locally 
known later as the "Big Bend". The distance between Bellevue and 
Hart's Bluffs, by the course of the river, was much greater in 1843 
than now. 

Beginning on the river bank about a mile south and west from 
the Hardin farm, a large marsh, with many lateral branches, extended 
up the river to the shore of the lake formed by Hart's Cut-Off. Its 
width varied from one-half to one and one-half miles, and covered 
nearly all of the surface, though there was exposed a high point in 
the angle between the river and the lake where now is ' ' East Omaha ' ' 
or "West End", — the name depending upon whether one is in Omaha 
or Council Bluffs. This was the marsh referred to in the "Omega" 
log. The location of the "bad sandbar" near this marsh is not deter- 
minable; Missouri river sandbars are not stable land marks. It is 
probable that it was not far from Hardin's, possibly near the site of 
South Omaha. Wlien the writer arrived at Council Bluffs, in 1853, 
the swamp still existed in diminished area and some of it may be 
there yet. For many years thereafter — surely up to 1870 — portions 
of it were known to Council Bluffs sportsmen as "Grassy Slough" 
and "Smith's Lake". 

Upon resuming her voyage above the "bad sandbar" on the morning 
of May 10, 1843, the "Omega" progressed finely until stopped by the 
dragoons at 7 : 00 A. M. Giving due consideration to the course of 
the river, the slow speed of the boat, it may be assumed that the 
landing of the ' ' Omega ' ' was at the southern bend of the river, below 
Hart's Cut-Off, near the then foot of the lake, about two miles from 
the supposed site of Hart's trading house. The distance from this 
point to Captain Burgwin's camp, as given by La Barge, was four 
miles, twice repeated, and Audubon says the troopers "had left their 
camp four miles distant from our anchorage at the same time" that 
the boat got under way. P>om this "Omega" landing to Casady's 
farm the distance would have been approximately ten miles by any 
route then practicable, as may be seen by examination of a sectionized 
map. The concurrent estimate of time elapsed between Audubon's 
departure from the boat and his return accompanied by Captain 
Burgwin and the surgeon is ' ' about two hours ' ', which would indicate 


that such a distance could not have been covered by his travel to 
and from the military encampment, even had he not spent some time 
in talk with the officers and in shooting birds, and had no delay 
occurred by reason of being required, as Audubon says, to "retrace 
our steps". 

The distance from the point of landing, as here assumed, to the 
site of the encampment of Captain Burgwin in Council Bluffs, as 
suggested hereinbefore, would have been substantially four miles — 
possibly a trifle less. Audubon's description of the ride along the 
foot of the bluffs, and "on we went, and in a few minutes we entered 
a beautiful dell or valley, and were in sight of the encampment", 
tallies perfectly with the situation last suggested. Had they gone to 
the Casady farm from the point where the steamer was "summoned 
to land" they would have been obliged to cross the Mosquito creek, 
probably unbridged, and if they had done this surely Audubon, noted 
for attention to minute detail, would have mentioned the fact. It 
might be said, upon the same line of argument, that it is strange that 
he did not mention Indian creek, coursing through the "beautiful 
dell or valley" described; but, one familiar with the location there 
knows that he might not, in fact would not, have seen Indian creek 
at all. Coming from the halted steamer the course would naturally, 
in the condition of affairs then existing, have been along the southern 
margin of the lake, reaching the bluffs at or near the Mynster Spring, 
thence along the foot of the bluffs and into the dell, following the 
present Washington Avenue in Council Bluffs to the site of the en- 
campment, without even noticing the little rivulet which Indian creek 
then probably was. 

Captain Burgwin and his troopers, according to Mr. R. S. Hardin, 
evacuated their cantonment because of the flood and — 

"stuck their tents in the hollow near where Judge Casady 's 
house stands." 

The "Duck Hollow" plateau — on which stood the "Log Tabernacle" 
of the Mormons — logically meets this description. 

The conditions leading to the sending of the command of Captain 
Burgwin to the Pottawattamie country are referred to in the 1842 
report of the Indian agent. (See Sen. Doc. No. 1, 3d Sess., 27th Cong., 
Vol. 1, page 387.) The agent said: 

' * There was reason to apprehend, during the last spring, that 
hostilities would be commenced by the Sioux against the united 


band of Ottawas, Chippewas and Pottawattamies, on the 
Missouri, who invited the Delawares to aid in their defence. 
Prompt and rigorous measures were adopted to prevent this 
outbreak, which, if it had commenced, would have involved 
consequences of the most hazardous character to the com- 
batants; would have probably embroiled neighboring tribes, 
and could have been arrested by the Government only at great 
cost. A company of dragoons was ordered by your direction 
to Council Bluffs, and assurances given the threatened party 
that they would be protected, while the Indians charged with 
meditating the attack were warned to abstain from it. These 
measures were effective, and the quiet of the frontier has been 
preserved. ' ' 

In addition to Captain Burgwin's report hereinbefore mentioned, 
and which no doubt formed the basis of the statement of the War 
Department, dated January 22, 1916, relative to the period during 
which "Fort Croghan" was in existence (quoted in connection with 
the account of the Old Blockhouse), testimony by one who was there 
present showing the date of abandonment is contained in Audubon's 
journal of the return trip of his party, made by way of the Missouri 
river in small boats in the months of September and October, 1843. 
Under October dates appear the following notes, viz. : 

"Wednesday, 4th. Cloudy and coldish. Left early and 
can't find my pocket knife, which I fear I have lost. We were 
stopped by wind at Cabane Bluffs, about twenty miles above 
Fort Croghan. . . . Windbound till night, and nothing 

"Thursday, 5th. Blew hard all night, but clear and beauti- 
ful sunrise. Started early, but stopped by wind at eight. 
Bell, Harris and Squires have started off for Fort Crc^han. 
As there was every appearance of rain we left at three and 
reached the fort about half past four. Found all well, and 
most kindly received. We were presented with some green 
com and had a quantity of bread made; also bought thirteen 
eggs from an Indian for twenty-five cents. Honey bees are 
found here, and do well, but none are seen above this place. 

"Friday, 6th. Some rain and thunder last night. A toler- 
able day. Breakfast at camp and left at half past eight. Our 
man Michaux was passed over to the officers' boat, to steer 
them down to Fort Leavenworth, where they are ordered, but 
we keep in company, and he is to cook for us at night. The 
whole station is broken up, and Captain Burgwin leaves in a 
few hours by land with the dragoons, horses, etc. . . . " 


Inasmuch as Captain Burgwin stated in August that the old en- 
campment would not be fit for reoccupancy, there is no probability that 
the troops returned there for encampment prior to departure. 

Thus ends this story of "Fort Cr(^han", which the writer believes 
to contain all attainable facts material to the history of the canton- 
ment, as well as some of his own deductions, inferences and assump- 
tions resting upon apparently strong circumstantial evidence when 
considered in connection with the conditions existing at the time 
when the transactions occurred. 

Other troops were sent to this region at various times during the 
occupancy of the southwestern Iowa country by the Pottawattamie 
Indians, but none other than those mentioned herein and in the 
several articles comprised in the booklet appear to have been quartered 
in the immediate vicinity of the site of the present city of Council 


The beginning of the history of civil government at and in the 
vicinity of the site of the present city of Council Bluffs dates from, 
the arrival there of the Mormons — ' ' Church of Jesus Christ of Latter 
Day Saints"— on June 14, 1846. 

Whither they were going, that is to say, where would they fix their 
permanent resting place, was at that time unknown even to their 
leaders. They were fleeing from persecution which they had suffered 
for a period of years in various portions of the United States, especi- 
ally in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, and they had started upon a 
pilgrimage, seeking, like the Children of Israel of old, a New Zion or 
"promised land". 

There is strong proof to indicate that it was their intention, at the 
time of leaving the beautiful city of Nauvoo — the largest then in the 
State of Illinois — which they had builded at much expense, time and 
labor, to go beyond the jurisdiction of the Government of the United 
States; and there is good reason for the belief that California — then 
a part of Mexico — was the contemplated goal; that they intended to 
effect settlement there and, eventually, to seize the territory occupied 
and found a government of their own. And there is evidence of no 
mean character to indicate that in such enterprise they were encour- 
aged and promised aid by prominent officials of the United States 
Government, and that the Government itself, as represented by several 
cabinet officers and influential members of the Senate, if not actually 
a party to the undertaking, allowed it to be understood that the move- 
ment would not meet with federal opposition or interference. 

It was under such conditions and with the hope that at least the 
advance parties would reach the Pacific coast that season that the 
emigrants began crossing the Mississippi river on February 5 and 6, 
1846, and established their first camp on Sugar creek, opposite Nauvoo 
and not far from Keokuk, in the Territory of Iowa, where, on the 15th 
of that month, they were joined by Brigham Young and other leaders, 
and organization of the caravans was begun. 

The start from Sugar creek was made on March 1, 1846, and at 
about the same time the ship "Brooklyn", with a number of "Saints" 
and large quantities of supplies on board, sailed from New York, via 
Cape Horn, for San Francisco. 


On March 21, 1846, near the river Chariton, the organization of 
the "Camps of Israel" was perfected. Near the end of April, Garden 
Grove (so named by them) was reached and there was established a 
settlement. Shortly afterward another settlement was founded at 
what they called Mount Pisgah; and, on June 14, the head of the 
column reached the Missouri river at or near the site of the present 
city of Council Bluffs, where another settlement was begun. 

These settlements were made for the purpose of affording rest for 
the moving trains, for the planting of crops to be cultivated and used 
by following parties, and similar ones were to be established and 
maintained along the route, as relay stations, forming a continuous 
line of connection from the beginning to the end of the journey, and 
they were called "Stakes of Zion". 

Within a few days after arrival at Council Bluffs Captain James 
Allen, with a few dragoons, visited the camp and laid before the 
leaders a proposition, submitted by the Government through Colonel 
Stephen W. Kearny, commandant of the military district with head- 
quarters at Fort Leavenworth, for the raising by the Mormon Church 
of a force of from five hundred to one thousand men for service in 
the war with Mexico. As an inducement for compliance with the re- 
quest it was promised that the men should be taken through to Cali- 
fornia, where, at the expiration of the term of enlistment, they would 
be discharged with full pay and permitted to retain their arms and 
all equipment. There not being a sufficient number at Council Bluffs, 
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards (of the 
High Council), accompanied by Captain Allen and three dragoons, 
visited the settlement at Mount Pisgah, and, by sending messengers 
to Garden Grove, secured volunteers to the number of five hundred 
and twenty. Within three days after the arrival of these men at 
Council Bluffs they were equipped, mustered into the United States 
service and ready to march to Fort Leavenworth, for which place 
they departed on July 20, 1846. 

"A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War — 
1846-1847— by Sergeant Daniel Tyler", is the title of a work con- 
taining much first-hand information concerning the movements of 
this body of troops. Incorporated in it are various other papers, one 
of which is "The Mormons, a Discourse delivered before the His- 
torical Society of Pennsylvania, March 26, 1850, by Thomas L. Kane". 
Speaking of the raising of this battalion, he having been present at 
the time, Mr. Kane said : 


"They were collected a little above the Pottawattamie 
Agency. The hills of the 'High Prairie' crowding upon the 
river at this point, and overhanging it, appear of an unusual 
and commanding elevation. They are called the Council Bluffs ; 
a name given them with another meaning, but well illustrated 
by the picturesque congress of their high and mighty summits. 
To the south of them, a rich alluvial flat of considerable width 
follows down the Missouri, some eight miles, to where it is lost 
from view at a turn, which forms the site of an Indian town 
of Point aux Poules. ' ' 

Referring to the departure of the volunteers for Fort Leavenworth, 
many of whom were married and leaving wives and children, and the 
events connected therewith, the author said: 

"There was no sentimental leave taking. The afternoon was 
appropriated to a farewell ball; and a more merry dancing 
rout I have never seen, though the company went without re- 
freshments, and their ball room was of the most primitive. It 
was the custom, whenever the larger camps rested for a few 
days together, to make great arbors, or boweries, as they called 
them, of poles and brush, and wattling, as places of shelter for 
their meetings of devotion or conference. In one of these where 
the ground had been trodden firm and hard by the worshippers 
of the popular Father Taylor's precinct, was gathered now the 
mirth and beauty of the Mormon Israel. . . . Light hearts, 
lithe figures and light feet, had it their own way from an early 
hour till after the sun had dipped behind the sharp skj'-line 
of the Omaha hills." 

The precise place where these troops were mustered does not appear 
in any of the works which have fallen under the eye of the writer 
here, but in the Journal of Sergeant William Hyde, incorporated in 
Sergeant Tyler's History (page 128), it is said: 

"We were mustered into the service of the United States 
on the 16th of July, 1846, and marched to the Missouri river, 
a distance of eight miles. . . . " 

Reverend Henry De Long, who still resides at Council Bluffs, was 
with the Mormons who early arrived at that place, being then some 
twelve or fourteen years of age. In a letter addressed to the writer 
November 18, 1915, he says: 

"My remembrance of the raising of the Mormon Battalion 
is this: They had a regular city composed of wagons and 
tents; some four thousand inhabitants, at what is now Dodge 


Orchard and J. G. Rice's place. Brigham Young's tent was 
the most conspicuous of them all. A flag pole sixty or eighty 
feet high stood in front of it. Amidst the beating of drums 
and martial music the men fell into line as volunteers were 
called for. Most of those that went were counseled by Brigham 
Young to go. When five hundred men were secured they 
marched to Trader's Point and there took a steamboat for St. 
Louis, about the middle of July, if I remember rightly. Among 
them was William Garner. ' ' 

This would indicate that the first rendezvous of volunteer soldiers 
in Western Iowa was at the identical place, upon the very same ground, 
as were those of later date, at the beginning of the War of the Re- 
bellion. On the plateau on the north (right) bank of Mosquito creek, 
opposite the site of the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb. Mr. De 
Long is mistaken, however, in regard to the battalion taking passage 
by steamboat for St. Louis. The record shows that they marched to 
Trader's Point (Point aux Poules) on the day of muster, where they 
were outfitted, and thence, by way of Black Snake Hills (St. Joseph), 
to Fort Leavenworth, from which point, in conjunction with other 
troops, they marched and found their way, along the old "Santa Fe 
Trail", onward to California, where, joined with the command of 
General Kearny, they assisted in the seizure of the territory now 
embraced in that State which resulted in its becoming a part of these 
United States. 

The raising of this battalion resulted in materially modifying the 
plans of the emigrants. It was believed by the leaders that, with such 
a reduction of their numbers, the taking away of the flower of their 
defensive force, it would not be prudent to undertake to cross the 
plains that season in the face of the numerous bands of hostile Indians ; 
so a semi-permanent encampment was established at Council Bluffs, 
then still in the possession of the Pottawattamie Indians, though they 
had previously negotiated and some of them had signed a treaty by 
which their lands were ceded to the United States. These Indians 
were, under the circumstances, willing that the emigrants should live 
among them and readily granted permission. 

To the end that an early resumption of their journey the following 
season should not be interfered with by late opening of the Missouri 
river, it was deemed advisable that the main body should cross the 
stream and, if possible, make settlement on its western (right) bank. 
Accordingly negotiations were begun with the Omaha Indians who 


then occupied the lands on that side. Those Indians being at war 
with the Sioux immediately recognized the advantage it would be to 
them to have so large a body of whites upon their northern border, 
who would serve as a buffer and protect them from the onslaughts 
of their enemies; therefore, permission was readily granted by them 
that the emigrants should occupy the territory for a period not ex- 
ceeding two years. 

Because of the beauty of the site, its desirability on account of 
bountiful supplies of wood and water, and because of the existence 
there of an abandoned trading post, with stockade, in fairly good 
condition, "Winter Quarters" were established upon the site later 
occupied by the town of Florence (now embraced within the limits 
of the Greater Omaha), and Brigham Young and other leaders located 
headquarters there. 

In a work the title page of which is, "Route from Liverpool to 
Great Salt Lake City, Illustrated with Steel Engravings and Wood 
Cuts from Sketches made by Frederick Piercy; Edited by James 
Linforth. Liverpool : Published by Franklin D, Richards, 36 Islington. 
London: Latter Day Saints' Book Depot, 35 Jevin Street, City. 
MDCCCLV", on page 83, in regard to Winter Quarters, it is said: 

"Upwards of 1000 houses were soon built — 700 of them in 
about 3 months — on a pretty plateau overlooking the river, and 
neatly laid out with highways and by ways, and fortified with 
breastwork and stockade. 'It had too it» place of worship, 
"Tabernacle of the Congregation", and various large work- 
shops, mills and factories provided with water power.' . . . 
Always capricious, and in this case instigated by white men, 
the Indians, notwithstanding they had formally given the 
Saints permission to settle upon their lands, complained to the 
Indian Agents that they were trespassing upon them, and they 
were requested to remove. From this circumstance is at- 
tributable the rise and rapid growth of Kanesville, leaving 
Winter Quarters again entirely to its savage inhabitants, and 
only ruins point to its former prosperity, and now its situation. 

5 5 

The visit of Mr. Piercy to this place was made in 1853 ©r 1854, at 
which time it appears that practically all of the improvements made by 
the Mormons had been destroyed, and the site was used merely as 
camping grounds for the later emigration of the Saints, and a ferry 
had been established there. On page 81 of the book just cited it is 


"At Kanesville I was kindly permitted to join the emi- 
grating company, under the presidency of Elders Miller and 
Cooley, . . . The company being ready to move we drove 
down to Ferryville, or Council Bluffs Ferry, 12 miles distant, 
and just opposite Winter Quarters, at which point we crossed 
the Missouri into Indian Territory, now Nebraska and Kansas. 

"The ferry-boats are flat bottomed, and large enough to 
carry 2 wagons of ordinary size. The starting point is usually 
chosen a considerable distance up the stream, so that the current 
may assist in conveying the boats to the landing place on the 
opposite side of the river. . . . The camping place on the 
west side of the Missouri was about a mile from the landing, 
in the vicinity of 2 springs, near the site of Winter Quarters. 
I paid a visit to the old place, and found that some person had 
set fire to the last house that remained of the once flourishing 
settlement. . . . 

(Page 84) : "Since the organization of Nebraska Territory 
an effort has been made, owing to the desirable situation of 
Winter Quarters, and its good ferriage and water facilities, to 
build a city by the name of Florence upon the old site." 

The total population of Winter Quarters, at the time of the general 
removal thence in 1848, is not positively known; but, judging from 
the number of houses erected, it must have been in the neighborhood 
of from five to six thousand. Probably more than half of the people 
went with the departing train to Salt Lake City; and a majority of 
those remaining removed to Kanesville, while others settled at various 
places within the Pottawattamie country, notably at C^rterville, 
Macedonia, Springville, in Pottawattamie County, and Cutler's Camp, 
Coonville (now Glenwood), and Bethlehem, in what is now Mills 
County, the last-mentioned place having been swept away by the 
Missouri river long ago. It was opposite the mouth of the Platte 

Within a few weeks after the arrival of the emigrants at the Missouri 
river they arranged a form of government for the contemplated en- 
campment at that point, in regard to which the writer has a letter 
from the Latter Day Saints' Historian's Office, dated Salt Lake City, 
Utah, December 24, 1915, giving information as follows: 

"About the municipal government which obtained from 1846 
till the creation of Pottawattamie County, the following is 
recorded in tlie Journal History of the 'Mormon Church': 


" 'July 21, 1846, a High Council was organized at Council 
Point, near Council Bluffs, to preside over the temporal and 
spiritual affairs of that camp and the other settlements organ- 
ized since leaving Nauvoo. The following brethren were sus- 
tained as a High Council : Isaac Morley, Geo. W. Harris, James 
Allred, Thos. Grover, Phineas Richards, Heman Hyde, Andrew 
H. Perkins, Wm. G. Perkins, Henry W. Miller, Daniel Spencer, 
Jonathan H. Hale, and John Murdock.' 

' ' The personnel of this High Council was changed from time 
to time as members of the same migrated to Great Salt Lake 
Valley, and other men were chosen to fill the vacancies; and, 
after the organization of Pottawattamie County, the jurisdic- 
tion of this High Council was confined to religious or spiritual 
affairs mainly. ' ' 

Relative to the first occupancy of any portion of what was the 
original town on the site of the present city of Council Bluffs, it is 
said, in the letter here mentioned, that: 

" ... in the advance company was Bishop Geo. Miller 
and also Henry W. Miller; the latter Miller soon afterwards 
settled in what some [time] afterwards became known as 
'Miller's Hollow', while the other Miller cro.ssed the river, 
traveled westward [?] and wintered among the Ponca Indians, 

"At an adjourned session of a general conference of the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, held in the log 
tabernacle. Miller's Hollow, April 8, 1848, Orson Hyde moved 
that 'the place hitherto known as Miller's Hollow be named 
Kanesville, in honor of Col. Thomas L. Kane.' " 

That motion was agreed to and the name Kanesville endured until 
after the final general exodus of the Mormons from the locality. The 
log tabernacle, referred to above, was erected in December, 1847, and 
stood on or near what is now known as Harmony Street, between 
Benton and Frank Streets. The residence of Henry W. Miller, from 
which the original name was acquired, was north of Broadway and 
not far from the present site of the Federal building, near Seventh 

April 7, 1847, Brigham Young, at the head of an exploring party 
consisting of one hundred and forty-three picked men, embracing 
eight of the Twelve Apostles, set out from "Winter Quarters" in 
search of the "Promised Land". He returned on October 31st, having 
decided upon the Great Salt Lake Valley, and the site of the present 


Salt Lake City, as the most desirable location, and established a colony 

During his absence difficulties arose between the Mormons and the 
Omaha Indians, resulting in a request by the Indian department of 
the Government for the abandonment of "Winter Quarters" and 
other places in the Omaha country then occupied by the Saints. Ac- 
cordingly, in the spring of 1848, the great body of Mormons then in 
Nebraska, Brigham at the head, departed on the journey to the newly- 
established Zion, their train comprising six hundred wagons. Those 
left behind removed to various places on the Iowa side of the river, 
as hereinbefore stated, and "Winter Quarters", as such, ceased to 
exist, though it was for many years afterward used as temporary 
camping ground for Mormon emigrants en route to the Great Salt 
Lake Valley. 

In the meantime, however, occurred at KanesviUe one of the most 
important events connected with the history of the church. By those 
familiar with that history it will be recalled that, after the death of 
Joseph Smith (the prophet), the then existing organization was aban- 
doned and the affairs temporal and spiritual were vested in a council. 

On page 114 of the work entitled "Route from Liverpool to Great 
Salt Lake City", is found the following: 

"They returned to Winter Quarters, Council Bluffs, where 
they arrived on the 31st of October, and an Epistle was issued 
on the 23d of December, by the Twelve Apostles, noticing the 
principal events which had befallen the Saints since the ex- 
pulsion from Nauvoo, and the discovery of G. S. h. Valley. It 
is also stated that it is in contemplation to reorganize the 
Church, according to the original pattern, with First Presi- 
dency and Patriarch. Accordingly, on the 24th, the day follow- 
ing, at a conference held at the 'Log Tabernacle' in KanesviUe, 
State of Iowa, the suggestion was brought before the Saints 
who 'hailed it as an action which the state of the work at 
present demanded', and 'Brigham Young was nominated to be 
the First President of the Church, and he nominated Heber C. 
Kimball and Willard Richards to be his two counsellors, which 
nominations were seconded and carried without a dissentient 
voice'. The appointment was afterwards acknowledged at a 
General Conference on the 6th of April, 1848, at the same place 
at which the appointment was made." 

Upon the abandonment of "Winter Quarters" KanesviUe became 
the church official headquarters for the Missouri river country. On 


page 648 of "The History of Salt Lake City and its Founders, by 
Edward W. Tullidge", published by authority of the organization at 
Salt Lake City, from which work have been gleaned many of the facts 
set forth herein, appears the following: 

"Before the return of the Pioneers to the mountains, they 
appointed Orson Pratt to preside over the mission in Great 
Britain, and to push emigration to the fullest extent, while 
Orson Hyde, George A. Smith and E. T. Benson were stationed 
at Council Bluffs to receive the emigrants from abroad, and to 
promote their speedy removal to the Valley, as well as the re- 
moval of those of the community who had concentrated there 
after the exodus from Nauvoo." 

In the letter from the Latter Day Saints Historian's Office, to which 
referisnce has hereinbefore been made, it is said : 

" ... After the evacuation of Winter Quarters (now 
Florence), in 1848, nearly all of the Mormons who did not 
migrate to the 'Valley' that year settled in and near Potta- 
wattamie County, with headquarters at Kanesville, and at one 
time there were about forty branches of the Church on that 
side of the Missouri river. Apostle Orson Hyde presided almost 
continuouly from 1848 to 1852." 

Upon petitions submitted by Brigham Young, the Iowa legislature 
provided for the temporary organization * ' into a county, by the name 
of Pottawattamie", of "the country embraced within the limits of 
what is called the 'Pottawattamie Purchase', the act being approved 
February 24, 1847 ; and the Government of the United States es- 
tablished a postoffice at "Miller's Hollow'', to be known as "Kane", 
January 17, 1848, and Evan M. Greene was appointed postmaster 
February 7, 1848. Shortly afterward (precise date not officially 
shown, nor location given, ) another postoffice was established in Potta- 
wattamie County, known as "Nebraska", as the postmaster for which 
Joseph T. Pendleton was named. May 30, 1849. Inasmuch as it is 
within the knowledge of the writer that Mr. Pendleton resided at 
Trader's Point; that the name of the Office is shown by official records 
to have been changed to Council Bluffs May 30, 1850, and to Trader's 
Point on December 10, 1852; that on a map published in 1851 the 
latter-named place was borne as Council Bluffs; that the name of 
Kane postoffice was changed to Council Bluffs on December 10, 1852, 
it would seem reasonable to believe that the postoffice of Nebraska was 


located at Trader's Point. On March 11, 1850, a postoffice was estab- 
lished at Macedonia. All of these resulted from Mormon effort. 

February 7, 1849, was issued the first number of the publication 
called the Frontier Guardian, not precisely a newspaper though in 
the form of one ; an organ of the Saints, published by Apostle Orson 
Hyde. Still, it did publish items that might be termed news, but per- 
taining almost exclusively to church matters. Of course these char- 
acteristics were in a measure unavoidable, even had the inclination to 
make them otherwise existed, because of the isolation of the community 
on the extreme frontier beyond the lines of ordinary communication. 
In one of the early issues it was said : 

"It affords unmeasured pleasure to see the favorable results 
of some limited exertions, not long since made, in favor of 
education. Two flourishing schools in our little town, of about 
eighty scholars each, conducted by a principal and assistant 
to each one, with many others in various parts of the country 
that have sprung into existence." 

Its issue of June 12, 1850, estimates the number of teams crossing 
the river during the season, up to that date, at about four thousand 
five hundred, with probably thirteen thousand five hundred men and 
about twenty -two thousand horses, mules, oxen and cows; and states 
that Orson Hyde 's own train would probably consist of seven hundred 
wagons, with two carding machines and other valuable machinery; 
also four thousand sheep and five thousand cattle, and added : 

"We have attended the organization of three hundred and 
fifty wagons of Salt Lake emigrants up to Saturday the 8th 
inst. We left them at Council Grove, twelve miles from Bethle- 
hem, west of the Missouri river. ' ' 

Mr. Kane, in the paper from which quotation has been made herein- 
before, referring to means of crossing the river, said : 

"Our nearest ferry was that over the Missouri. Nearly op- 
posite the Pull Point, or Point aux Poules, a trading post of 
the American Fur Company, and village of the Pottawatta- 
mies. ' ' 

Th(! ferry rofi^rrcd to by him was owned and operated by Peter A. 
t<.i,.py_" Colonel Peter A. Sarpy, by-gad, sir,"— as he was wont 
himself to say, who wjus what our English friends would term the 
American Fur Company's "Factor" at Bellevue, nearly opposite 
Trader's Point, anrl lie lind fstjiblished such exorbitant rates for 


ferriage that an opposition establishment was set up a short distance 
below, at the mouth of the Platte river below the mouth of which was 
its western landing. James A. Little, in his book entitled "From 
Kirtland to Salt Lake", to which the present writer is under obliga- 
tions, referring to the year 1852, says : 

"For some reason the most of the Mormon emigration 
traveled the south side of the Platte. They crossed the Missouri 
river eighteen miles below Kanesville at an insignificant hamlet 
called Bethlehem." (Page 240.) 

Mr. Little visited Council Bluffs in 1854 and spent some days there 
renewing old acquaintance. In describing the place as then seen he 
said, among other things, that: 

"Through the western part of the town ran Indian (alias 
Lousey) creek. . . . Running along its western bank about 
half a mile was Greene Street, so named in honor of Mr. Evan 
Greene, who was one of the first residents in the locality. He 
was an early pioneer and the first postmaster of the place, then 
called Kanesville, in honor of Col. Thos. L. Kane, the philan- 
thropist. ' ' 

He had his points of the compass slightly mixed as any one ac- 
quainted with the place will readily perceive. At the time of which 
he wrote Indian creek scarcely touched the western part of the town. 
It ran through the northern part, for about the distance mentioned by 
him, turning to the north at the western edge of the town as it then 
existed, and, skirting the foot of the bluffs for a short way, lost itself 
in a swamp at the site of Dagger's Mill. But, this is digressing slightly 
from Mormon days, extending beyond the period of actual Mormon 

Dagger's Mill was erected by Madison Dagger, about 1848, originally 
a grist mill exclusively; but later a saw was added. Its power was 
derived from the waters of Indian creek poured upon an overshot 
wheel. The dam was at Benton street, and the water was carried in a 
ditch along the north bank of the original stream to the edge of the 
bluff under which the mill was situated. This ditch followed along 
the south side of the western part of Greene street, which, for that 
reason, was called Race street (now Washington Avenue), and was no 
doubt the stream which Mr. Little supposed to be the creek itself. 

Almon W. Babbitt, an elder of the Mormon Church and a man of 
strong personality and combative instincts, never in very high favor 


with the ruling powers, seems to have disliked Apostle Hyde 's methods 
of conducting the Frontier Guardian, and, therefore, in 1850, he 
founded an opposition publication named the Weekly Western Bugle. 
It was the fashion among newspapers at that time to carry below the 
main head line some kind of a motto, and Brother Babbitt seems to 
have received inspiration for his from the well-known lines of "The 
Battle Field", by William Cullen Bryant: 

"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again, — 
The eternal years of God are hers; 
But error, wounded, writhes in pain, 
And dies among her worshippers". 

So, the motto adopted for the Bugle was, "Truth, tho' crushed, shall 
rise again." With the departure of Apostle Hyde for Salt Lake City, 
in 1852, his publication was absorbed by that of Babbitt and the title 
became the Weekly Western Bugle and Frontier Guardian, under 
which the paper continued so long as the existing advertising contracts 
of the Guardian remained in force, when, the name of the town having 
been changed, the title of the paper became Weekly Council Bluffs 
Bugle. By this time the concern had passed into the ownership of 
Joseph E. Johnson and L. 0. Littlefield, the former, an elder of the 
Mormon church, being editor, and the latter, a layman printer, the 
publisher. But this was after the almost exclusive occupancy and 
complete control of the town, which had existed for upward of six 
years, had passed from the church. 

No evidence has been found to indicate that newspapers or any 
periodical publications other than the two mentioned, were issued at 
Kanesville or in the vicinity during the official occupancy by the 
Mormons. It is believed that there were none. 

Although the "Stakes of Zion" — (such as Garden Grove, Mount 
Pisgah, and Winter Quarters) — established by the "Camps of Israel" 
along the line of march from Nauvoo to Great Salt Lake City were 
intended merely to be temporary camps, or way stations, fairly per- 
manent improvements were made at each. Tabernacles were erected, 
mills built, and business houses established, as indicated by the extract 
above made from "Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake City" 
descriptive of Winter Quarters; though that was by far the largest 
and most important of thciii all. True, no buildings were constructed 
of brick or stone, nor docs it appear that bricks were at any of them 
manufactured under the direction of the; church authorities; but Rev. 


Henry De Long, who has been hereinbefore quoted, under date of 
March 24, 1916, has informed the writer that : 

"In 1849, a man by the name of Roberts started a pottery 
in ' Duck Hollow ', what is now Harrison Street, a short distance 
north of the junction of Harrison and Harmony Streets. In 
connection with the pottery, a man whose name I have forgotten, 
burned a brick kiln, and these brick were used in the construc- 
tion of the little powder magazine that stood on the hill back 
of the Ogden House." 

Inasmuch as the surrounding adjacent country was devoid of coal 
of any kind, the blacksmiths and other workers in metal were de- 
pendent for fuel supplies upon the steamboats of the American Fur 
Company, which passed up and down the river once or twice each 
season, and upon charcoal manufactured in the locality, consequently 
there were numerous charcoal pits or kilns in and about Kanesville. 

When the exodus from Winter Quarters occurred, in May, 1848, the 
more important of the business concerns of the place removed to Great 
Salt Lake City, and a number of the smaller establishments recrossed 
the Missouri river and located at Kanesville and adjacent small towns. 
Many of these became fixtures and grew into the leading business con- 
cerns in the early life of Council Bluffs. 

Mormon control in Western Iowa, especially at Kanesville, ceased in 
the spring of 1852, when Apostle Orson Hyde departed, bag and 
baggage, with all the Saints whom he could by any means induce to 
accompany him. 





This is a picture of the Phoenix Block, north side of Broadway at 
the corner of what was originally Hyde, subsequently Madison, now 
North First Street. It was one among the first brick business buildings 
erected in the city. At the extreme right is seen the weatherboarded 
side of the old log store of CoRNELros Voorhis, a portion of the sign 
being shown. 

The "prairie schooner" is drawn by a typical Mormon team — three 
yoke of oxen and one of cows. In the foreground is a calf. The 
emigration authorities of the Church of Latter Day Saints required 
that each team should comprise not less than three yoke of cattle, one 
of which must be cows. The owner of the team here depicted more 
than fulfilled the terms prescribed. It will be observed that, in addi- 
tion to the full team, he has an additional bovine of some description 
on the off-side of one of the pairs in the team. 

The drawing from which the cut here shown was produced is from 
a photograph now in the possession of Mrs. L. S. Hills, of Salt Lake 
City, Utah, whose husband (Lewis S. Hills) was the last democratic 
Register of the United States Land OfSce at Council Bluffs, and who 
emigrated to Salt Lake in 1861, where he died, July 21, 1915. 


Much confusion and many conflicting statements regarding the or- 
ganization of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, are found in outstanding 
histories, reference to each and all of which in this work is not deemed 
necessary inasmuch as the purpose of its publication is to present facts 
pertaining almost exclusively to the immediate vicinity of the city of 
Council Bluffs, However, the organization of the county is intimately 
connected with the selection and history of its capital city, respecting 
which selection very little, if anything, has been heretofore published. 
In a ' ' History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the Earliest His- 
toric Times to 1907", by Homer H. Field and Hon. Joseph R. Eeed, 
I have found only two references to the organization of the county, 
viz. : 

"Although Pottawattamie County was not organized until 
as late as September, 1848, its real history begins at a much 
earlier date." (See page 1; Volume 1.) 

On page 10 of the same work, referring to a later date, it is said : 

"With the end of Mormon supremacy the people began to 
look about to see where they were. The county, which was 
much larger than now, was reduced to its present size, an 
election was held, and A. H. Perkins, David D. Yearsly and 
George Coulson were elected the first Commissioners. The first 
clerk was James Sloan, and its first County Judge was T. 
Burdick, elected in 1851." 

' ' The Historical Record, a Monthly Periodical, Devoted Exclusively 
to Historical, Biographical, Chronological and Statistical Matters", 
is the title of a Salt Lake City, Utah, publication, edited and published 
by Andrew Jensen, of the Latter Day Saints Historian's Office. On 
page 899 of Volume 8 of that work is found the following : 

"At Kanesville the people were anxious to have a postoffice 
established and a county organization extended over the land 
on wliich they had settled. At some meetings held in January, 
1848, a pel i1 ion to the legislature of Iowa was numerously 
signed, and Andrew II. Perkins and Henry W. Miller were 
ehoscn delegates to carry and present said petition. They 
attended to this business and learned that the legislature had 


made provision for the organization whenever the judge of the 
4th judicial district of Iowa should decree that the 'public 
good requires such organization'. They waited upon Judge 
Carrolton at Iowa City, who informed them that he had ap- 
pointed a Mr. Townsend to organize said County. ' ' 

On page 900 of the work last cited, reference is made to the county 
organization, as follows: 

"In March (1848) a pastoffice was established at Kanesville, 
and Brother Evan M. Greene received the appointment of 
postmaster. A county organization was also obtained, the 
county being called Pottawattamie. The officers were : Isaac 
Clark, judge of probate; George Coulson, Andrew H. Perkins 
and David D. Yearsley, county commissioners; Thomas Bur- 
dick, county clerk; John D. Parker, sheriff; James Sloan, dis- 
trict clerk ; Evan M. Greene, recorder and treasurer ; Jacob G. 
Bigler, William Snow, Levi Bracken and Jonathan C. Wright, 
magistrates. ' ' 

Each of the foregoing extracts speaks for itself. Those referring 
to efforts made to secure a county organization, as well as those which 
mention such organization as a fact accomplished in 1848, have refer- 
ence to a temporary organization of Pottawattamie County, pursuant 
to an act of the State Legislature approved February 24, 1847, which 
provided that: 

"The country embraced within the limits of what is called 
the Pottawattamie purchase, on the Missouri river, in this State, 
be, and the same may be, temporarily organized into a county, 
by the name of Pottawattamie, at any time when, in the opinion 
of the judge of the fourth judicial district, the public good may 
require such organization." (Laws of Iowa, 1st General As- 
sembly of the State, Chapter Ixxxiv, page 115.) 

Thus the county was to embrace, and when organized did embrace, 
all of the territory ceded to the United States by the treaty of June 
5, and 17, 1846, which had theretofore been occupied by the Potta- 
wattamie Indians. As said in the portion of this work relating to the 
Pottawattamies, the eastern part of the northern boundary of this 
territory was never delimitated. It was to extend from a point on 
the western boundary of the "lands of the Sac and Fox Indians" 
from which a west line "would strike the sources" of the Little Sioux 
river, which initial point was never exactly ascertained ; nor were the 
"sources" of the Little Sioux river ever determined in connection 


with the treaty of 1833, at Chicago, by which the Pottawattamie 
boundary was prescribed. Assuming, however, that the "Second 
Correction Line", established by the United States surveys in Iowa, 
approximates the "west line" prescribed by the treaty, which would, 
with the other lines mentioned, mark out an area of about five million 
acres, the quantity the Indians were to occupy, it will be seen that, 
beginning at the southwest corner of Iowa and proceeding eastward by 
tiers of counties, the Pottawattamie County authorized by the act of 
1848 comprised territory within the present counties, viz. : 

"All of Fremont, Page, Taylor, and part of Ringgold; All 
of Mills, Montgomery, Adams, and part of Union ; All of Potta- 
wattamie, and parts of Cass and Adair ; All of Harrison, Shelby, 
Audubon, and part of Guthrie; Part of Monona, All of Craw- 
ford, and part of Carroll ; Part of Woodbury, All of Ida, and 
part of Sac." 

The area of the county was reduced to its present size and form by 
the legislative act approved January 15, 1851. (Laws of Iowa, Regu- 
lar Session, 3d General Assembly, Chapter ix, pages 27-28.) 

By an act of January 23, 1851 (Chapter xxvi. Laws of Iowa, 3d 
General Assembly, Regular Session, page 56), provision was made for 
the selection of a county seat for Pottawattamie County, the County 
Commissioners being directed to designate two places to be voted for 
as such, and order an election for the purpose. Notices of the places 
for holding the election were to be posted in each township in the 
county and published in the "Frontier Guardian". The following is 
a copy of the published notice : 


"Notice is hereby given that on the first Monday, the 7th day, 
of April next, at the Warehouse of F. J. Wheeling, in the pre- 
cinct of Council Bluffs, in the County of Pottawattamie, and at 
William H. Gooch & Brother's Warehouse, on Hyde Street, in 
Kanesville, in the precinct of Kanesville, in said County, an 
election will be held to establish the Seat of Justice of said 
(/ounty ; that Kanesville is one of the plaees to be ballotted for, 
for said Seat of Justice, the oth«^r is at the residence of John D. 
Parker, at Pleasant Grove, about eight miles above Kanesville, 
on the south sirle of Big Mosquito, and about five miles from 
the Indian Mill. Also to be elected, or ballotted for, at said 
election: one District Judge for the 6th Judicial District of 
the State of Iowa; one School Fund Commissioner, for said 


County; one Supervisor of Highways, for each of said pre- 
cincts; and as many Justices of the Peace and Constables for 
each of said precincts as it lacks of two of each. 

"Which said election is to be opened at nine o'clock in the 
morning and continue open until six o'clock in the afternoon of 
the same day. 

T. BuRDiCK, Clerk of the 
Board of County Commissioners. 
"Kanesville, March 7, 1851. 

"N. B. — By a late Act of the Legislature, the County of 
Pottawattamie, as nearly as can now be determined, extends 
about thirteen miles north, eleven south, and twenty-eight east 
of Kanesville. Voters within these limits are entitled to vote 
for the county seat." (Frontier Guardian, March 7, 1851; 
page 2.) 

The result of the election thus provided for was reported in the 
Frontier Guardian of April 18, 1851 (page 2), as follows: 


' * The first Monday of April, Inst., was the most disagreeable 
and stormy day that we have ever witnessed in this country. 
It began to rain on Sunday night, and continued to rain in- 
cessantly until about 12 o'clock on Monday ; then it snowed and 
froze severely; and, consequently, we had a very light vote to 
what would have been given if the day had been fine ; yet, un- 
favorable as the day was, quite a goodly number turned out at 
the election, the final result of which is officially given below. 
"Pottawattamie County and Precincts, or dependencies: 
For Judge of the Sixth Judicial District ; for James Sloan, 
406 ; for Christopher P. Brown, 71 ; 

' ' Fremont County : 

"For James Sloan, 7; for Christopher P. Brown, 91; for 
Burton, 2. 

"No returns from any other county. 

"E. M. Greene, Esq., was elected County Clerk without op- 
position, in place of James Sloan, resigned. 

"Calvin R. Clark was elected School Fund Commissioner. 

' ' Kanesville elected Seat of Justice ; only seven votes cast 
against it. 

"William Vanosdale and Jacob Degraw elected Justices of 
the Peace for Kanesville Precinct. 

"William H. Gooch and Roswell Ferry, Constables for Kanes- 
ville Precinct. 


"For Superintendent of Public Instruction: William G. 
Woodward, 397; Thomas H. Benton, Jr., 51; William W. 

Spencer, 5. " 

In so far as the writer of this work is informed the information rela- 
tive to the county-seat election, and election of officers mentioned, has 
never been recorded in any of the numerous histories of Iowa, or of 
Pottawattamie County, heretofore published. 

A discrepancy respecting the temporary organization of the county 
under the act of 1848 appears between the statements made in the 
Field and Reed History and those of the "Historical Record", above 
cited. The former places it in September and the latter in March^ 

The office of the County Clerk of Pottawattamie County was 
destroyed by fire sometime in the "fifties", and practically all of its 
records went up in smoke. Inasmuch as the matter published in the 
"Historical Record" is based upon records kept at the time by 
oflScials of the Mormon Church, who were on the ground, it would 
appear that the information contained in it is the more reliable of 
the conflicting allegations. 


Santa Barbara